Some friendships do not last, but some friends are more loyal than brothers. (Proverbs 18:24.)
I love being a part of a family: a biological family, an extended family, a family of friends, and most especially the family of God. While searching the word of God for supporting scripture for this piece I fell in love with 1 Corinthians 12:12 – 1 Corinthians 13:13. Though I do not wish to print the entirety of the text here, I would like to highlight a few pieces.
Christ is like a single body, which has many parts; it is still one body, even though it is made up of different parts. In the same way, all of us, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, have been baptized into the one body by the Spirit, and we have all been given the one Spirit to drink. (1 Corinthians 12:12 & 13.)
For the body itself is not made up of only one part, but of many parts. As it is, however, God put every different part in the body just as he wanted it to be. There would not be a body if it were all only one part! As it is, there are many parts but one body. (1 Corinthians 12:14, 18, & 19.)
God himself has put the body together in such a way as to give greater honor to those parts that need it. And so there is no division in the body, but all its different parts have the same concern for one another. If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness. (1 Corinthians 12: 24-26.)
All of you are Christ’s body, and each one is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27.)
I especially like the part about if one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness. Truly they will know we are Christians by our love! And what good is a one sided and/or unbalanced friendship? Perhaps you are wondering where I am going with this. Just bear with me for a moment and hopefully I will successfully tie it all together.
When I go to work I do not expect the people there to be interested in my personal life, my trials and tribulations, nor to say they will pray for me. I do however need my family, whether it be my biological family, my church family, or my family of friends (believers or not) to be my support group. But has the world become too self centered? Do we truly share in each other’s suffering, praise, and happiness? I look at myself and the way I currently live my life and think, “I can do a lot better”. If I am not there for my family and friends then they will find comfort in someone else (perhaps an enemy of Christ) and do I really want that? Do I want my family member or friend to feel let down or alone because I chose not to be there for them? No, I do not. But how do we know how we can be there for those who need us? For this I look to 1 Corinthians 13. Again, I do not wish to print out the whole thing so I will highlight a few things.
I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned – but if I have no love, this does me no good. (1 Corinthians 13:3.)
Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope and patience never fail. Love is eternal. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8.)
When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am a man, I have no more use for childish ways. What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete – as complete as God’s knowledge of me. (1 Corinthians 13:11 & 12.)
Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13.)
Perhaps I am still like a child growing into the mature adulthood of my Father’s word, but I feel I need my family and friends to support me when I am weak, exposed, and/or uncertain. I need a voice of reason when mine might be trying to betray me. I need a gentle gripping of my hand by someone more “adult” than I to guide me through the child like haze of lessons. And, I feel I should be available and joyful to lead another when they are feeling weak, exposed, and/or uncertain, hence the sharing in suffering and happiness.
I leave you with this question (perhaps a challenge if you will) to look at your life and to ask yourself, “Am I truly there for my family and friends?”
I love you and I will be praying for you, my friend.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer… (Romans 12:9-12 NKJV.)
(Originally posted: 5 December 2006)
(Photo information: Bing Images)