“Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?” Proverbs 20:6
Someone once told me that when you love someone, you always assume the best about that person.
For quite some time, I was convinced they must be right. In fact, I had actually even begun to believe that I really didn’t know how to love well. Or maybe at all.
But if that were true – that love is always assuming the best about someone, then what reason would there be to want to encourage anyone to run harder after Christ? To dig deeper, to do the hard work of letting God get into every nook and cranny of our hearts? And to actually truly believe we could be a new creation in Christ? Heal from our pasts?
That would also mean that my closest and most cherished friends, who at the end of the day, want nothing more than for me to look more like Jesus – are very disingenuous. And I know my friends are definitely not that.
I don’t want friends who are disingenuous, and never challenge me. I want the kind of friends who say the most difficult things for me to hear – not because they want to discourage me, but because they love me. They love me enough to point out when my people-pleasing behavior is sinful, when my constant need for validation by others is annoying and wrong, and then they ask me how much time I’m spending in the Word. And they want an honest answer. The kind of friends who text a prayer, confess a struggle, admit their weakness, share their sadness, loneliness, or invite me to rejoice in their triumphs. The kind that already KNOW how to pray for me.
It’s been another pajama day for me, and I’ve thought long and hard about my friendships – current and past. It’s also an evening when I wish I could go back in time, and not assume the best and ignore the things that I could have encouraged that needed healing in an old friend, even at the risk of losing them. Because true friends are willing to take risks like that. I’m praying someone comes along, someone who is a more genuine friend than I was, who will encourage honest, self awareness, courage, confession, and healing. I wish I’d have been more concerned about wanting my friend to look more like Jesus than I was about making sure I always assumed the best.
God brings us all into each other’s lives for a reason. There’s not a person I’ve loved that I’m not grateful for – even the friendships that were seasonal.
I’m going to be a better friend. I’m going to be a better sister.
One of my most cherished friendships was one begun on a four-day journey of handing out toilet paper in a public restroom, picking garbage up with our bare hands in the Georgia Dome, high-five’ing thousands of teenagers, and praying with college students. That friendship has grown and grown, and it’s no seasonal friendship. It’s the lifetime kind.
Sarah Passion, you are one of the sweetest treasures and cherished gifts in my life. Thank you for challenging me. Thank you for being genuine. Thank you for loving me, because I know your biggest prayer for me is that I look more like Jesus every day.
You, my friend, are a Gem, and I love you more than a Fresh-To-Go salad. You are so. stuck. with. me!
And no, love is definitely NOT always assuming the best. Love is wanting more than anything for your friend to look more like Christ, and to help them run that race with everything they’ve got, no matter what. THAT is the kind of friend I want to be.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Hebrews 12:1