I know I posted this particular post on Mikayla’s blog some time ago (click here to see the post), but I wanted to post it here with an additional forward and update. I have been struck again by the amazing impact of friendship. I have time and time again wondered if I have true friends – and I have discovered that I do. I may only have a couple of people I would consider to be true friends, but let me tell you these are amazing people that I completely respect, admire, and trust. And I am so grateful to these people who have invested so much in me, despite every flaw in me and every mistake I’ve ever made. I have discovered there really are people in the world who love with a selfless love. So this post is comprised of what two people have taught me that being a friend means. That being said, here is my post:
Due to my own recent experiences, I’ve been struggling with what a true friend is. Everyone wants a best friend who’s just as crazy as they are, who will follow them always and have their backs. Right? But seriously, how many “best friends” have we had that match that description; and have only lasted for a season? How many times have we had these “best friends”, and our friendship eventually fades away? Why does this happen?
I want a true friend. I want a friend like Jonathan. Samuel 18:1 says that he “became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” It is rare to have the pleasure of having a friend who will love you as they love themselves. Why? It’s a simple answer.
We are so self – centered, so self – focused, that is is the basis for our friendships. We form our friendships around what we can get out of the other person, instead of how we can give. This is why friendships die; there was no love, only self. The most meaningful, close friendships that I have are because someone has given encouragement and love to me when I had nothing to offer in return. If we truly love someone, we will want them for who they are instead of how they will benefit us. We will love them and want to encourage them in their walk with the Lord, instead of someone else we can talk to about ourselves. We will not only speak, but we will listen.
Jonathan demonstrates this selfless love. He loved David as he loved himself! He interceded with his father, Saul, on David’s behalf. He helped David to escape Saul’s wrath, to preserve his life – all because of the love he had for his friend! He did nothing based on what he could get out of it, only on how he could help David, because he loved him with a selfless love. Read the accounts of David’s interactions with Jonathan – it is a great example of true friendship.
Jesus is obviously the prime example of a selfless love. He loved us long before we ever loved Him – not because of “how He could benefit from us”, but because He truly, deeply loves us.
So, what is a best friend? Someone who really, honestly loves you with a selfless love. There’s nothing wrong with short – term friendships, and there’s certainly no way we can stop a friend from leaving us or turning on us. But we should become the type of friend that we want others to be to us. I said that it’s rare to experience a selfless friendship. That’s true, but that realization forces me to challenge myself. Have I demonstrated that selfless love? No. I am a selfish human being; I acknowledge that. I really can’t have expectations for others when I don’t even meet them myself. But don’t be discouraged; it’s rare to find someone who will truly love you. We have to rejoice in whom God has placed in our lives at this time, and do our best to encourage and love others.