I am sure that many others, like me, have scrolled through their social media accounts and thought, “who is this person, and how did we become “friends?”  Family members, church family, mutual friends of friends, casual acquaintances, business contacts, people we know with common interests, chance encounters from our past…all categorized as friends or perhaps followers, many with whom we never actually communicate.  Frequently, we get “friend requests” from scammers and individuals whose intent is to do harm to us in some way.

I’ll admit that my thoughts on friends and friendship was prompted by the fact that someone recently questioned the fact that I ignored their request to be my friend. The choice of who we add or who we accept as friends is our decision.

The Oxford dictionary defines friend as “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.” Friendship as “the emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends.”

I began to think about the friends I’ve made through the years that I treasure. I especially remember my dear friend Betty, who is now walking the streets of heaven.  On the night my husband passed, she showed up at my door, unannounced but very welcomed, to simply sit nearby throughout the night, not talking, just being present as I processed my raw emotions.

I began to think about the life of my close friend Jesus, the one who loved me so much that He died for me. What were his childhood friendships like?   Who, other than his family, was he close to? We know that when he began his public ministry, he chose his inner circle.

“One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names:

 Simon (whom he named Peter), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (who was called the zealot), Judas (son of James), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).” Luke 6:12-16

If we study further, we see that three of the apostles, Peter, James and John were the closest to Him; John referred to himself as “the one Jesus loved” indicating that there was a strong “mutual affection.”  These were the three who were with him in his darkest times.

 “He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Mark 14:33-34

And we read in John 11 of Jesus’ close friendship with Mary, Martha and Lazarus and the raising of Lazarus. 

Who are our true friends? Who are the ones with whom we share our innermost thoughts?  Our joys? Our pain?  Who is there when we need them most?   Who can we depend on not to betray us when the chips are down? Do we use wisdom in choosing people we include in our confidence? Do we, like Jesus did, pray, asking for guidance in choosing our friendships?

Finally, how do WE measure up as a friend to those in our inner circle? Food for thought!

Friends love through all kinds of weather,
    and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. Proverb 17:17

Darlene Shelton 9-2-22

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