How to be a friend and the results of being one, part 2

How to be a friend and the results of being one, part 2

Over a few days I am exploring these verses in John 15 v9-17 focusing on friendship and love, with an action and a result to consider.

 

A recent study of those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder found that 88.3 percent of those who participated in group therapy no longer exhibited PTSD symptoms, versus just 31.3 percent of those who received minimal one-on-one interaction.

There is also evidence that the act of confessing one’s faults to a few safe people—enshrined in AA’s fifth step—helps in changing addictive patterns. According to researchers, “Revealing one’s deepest flaws and hearing others do likewise forces a person to confront the terrible consequences of their alcoholism—something that is very difficult to do alone.”

Conversely, some research studies have shown how friendships can also lead us to adopt negative behaviours. For instance, a paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that a person is 50 percent more likely to be a heavy drinker if a friend or relative is a heavy drinker. Also, a study concluded that a person’s odds of becoming obese increase by 71 percent if he or she has a same-sex friend who is also obese.

So all that leads to this. Being a friend means work. Whether that means becoming vulnerable or being accountable. We have to work at it for friendship to survive.

 

Action: work at it.

 

It’s not easy. It doesn’t come naturally to us. People are odd including us. Some are difficult to love and almost impossible to befriend. So we must work at it. We are all very different. Your attitude towards people is one of the most important choices you will have.

Our thinking can be like this:

When the other person takes a long time, he’s slow.

When I take a long time, I’m thorough.

When the other person doesn’t do it, he’s lazy.

When I don’t do it, I’m busy.

When the other person does something without being told, he’s overstepping his boundaries.

When I do it, that’s initiative.

When the other person overlooks a rule of etiquette, he’s rude.

When I skip a few rules, I’m original.

When the other person gets ahead, he’s very lucky.

When I manage to get ahead, that’s just the reward for hard work.

 

Jesus said in v12, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

Can you imagine the work needed to be a friend of the disciples?! Can you imagine trying to love them?!

A true friend is one who walks in when everyone else walks out on you.

 

Result: the friendship of Jesus

“You are my friends if you do what I command” v14.

A Roman emperor sought to discover humanity’s original language – thinking it might be Hebrew, Greek or Latin. So he experimented by isolating a few infants. The nurses involved were sworn to absolute silence, and no one ever spoke to or in the presence of the children. The babies heard not a word, not a single sound from a human voice. Tragically, within several months. they all died. A lamentable result of a bizarre search for knowledge gone awry, the emperor never learned the original language of humankind – but he did prove one thing: people cannot survive without relationships. And we cannot survive without the friendship of Jesus.

Whatever it is we are going through, whether Covid or some other crisis we do it as a friend of Jesus.

A mainland Chinese pastor who had been placed in a detention camp during the Cultural Revolution. Each day he was lowered into a pit filled with human faeces and ordered to start shovelling. He was able to endure this horrific indignity, he reported, by singing over and over again the words to “I Come to the Garden Alone.” He was refusing, he said, to allow his captors to define his reality for him. He chose to see himself as enjoying the presence of his Saviour.

I come to the garden alone, While the dew is still on the roses, And the voice I hear falling on my ear, The Son of God discloses…

And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own, And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other, has ever, known!

He speaks and the sound of His voice, Is so sweet the birds hush their singing, And the melody that he gave to me, Within my heart is ringing . . .

And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own, And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other, has ever, known!

And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other, has ever, known!

There can be no greater result than being a friend of Jesus!

 

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