When you’re a kid, you never really think much of friends, particularly about them possibly one day not being there as your friend. As a child, “You will be friends forever!” What that means we don’t know, but the emotions that fill that are real and sincere. Then you have a disagreement on the playground, and you hear those oft heard words from the mouth of a child, “I never want to see you again! You’re not my friend anymore.” Usually, this is eventually resolved and friendship is restored.
As we grow older, things change and we have people that walk in and out of our lives. We learn the difference between friends and aquaintences and we may even run into the situations where we find that our friendship is not reciprocated. It is painful. I am sure that many have experienced this. I have had people that told me that they loved me, betray me and my family in ways that I could not imagine. Yet, we go on. It is always hard to lose friends. Whether it be from betrayal or through death. The thing is that it does not diminish the importance of friends and friendship.
Jesus told us the importance of relationship when he told us to “love one another” (John 13:34), he was not meaning for us to do that only because it is easy. He meant us, as his followers, to even love that hard to love person. You know that person. The one that never seems to have anything nice to say, is critical, and may even be rude at times. He, also, wants us to love that drunkard or that addict. Not because they deserve our love, but because he loves them and out of the love that he has for us. That is the tragedy of losing friends. Relationships, as God desires, are not meant to be easily cast aside. Though we may have relationships that don’t remain as close permanently, no relationship with God in the middle is meant to be cast away. The bond that God desires for us to hold with one another is something greater than the worldly understanding of friendship which often is with purpose. In the world, we often become friends because of shared interests. In Christ, our friendships are centered in him and him alone. Interests change, Christ remains the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
In my faith life, I have many who I have had an immediate bond with and their was a special friendship right from the get go. These bonds were more familial in nature and a
special affinity that was there from the moment that we met. This is from the Holy Spirit and as we walk in the faith these relationships will occur. I have also been deeply hurt by those that are said to be followers of Christ. I may have hurt some, also. For that we are called to forgive and ask for forgiveness. It is the trouble of our fallen nature. Ultimately, our Lord desires for us to embrace each other as brothers and sisters and to love one another, just as, I believe Christ loved Judas even as Judas betrayed him and, we know from the Bible, as Jesus loved Peter even as Peter denied him. The love we are to have for one another and what defines our friendship is Christ and Christ alone. May that love carry your relationships into old age.