I am ashamed to say that I have not always been a friend. I have been, at times, critical and have judged others who I thought were not worth my time or energy. I don’t think it’s possible to have close friendships with everyone we meet, but I do believe Jesus’ example in Scripture clearly points us toward being“friendly” to others. His Word speaks to us of loving others as He loves us.
I have asked myself why it is I have not always been a friend toward all people; indiscriminately. Why it is that I have not loved others as Christ loves me. For me, the answers are that I am selfish and critical at times. I think that I sometimes care more about how it may look to those whom I wish to impress when I am friendly toward those society considers less “popular”.
As I read what I have written above, all I can think is how immature and adolescent it all sounds. And, yet, many of us“mature” and “grownup” people truly behave in such manner.
We may think, “man, that guy smells like alcohol and has filthy clothes. No way am I going to talk to him; I don’t want to be seen near that”. Perhaps we think, “that woman has three children all from different men; I don’t need her hanging around me”.
Yes, their struggles may be visible on the outside. Yes, their lives may have areas of sinful battles which they do not always win. But, what about those of us who have hidden struggles or secret sins? Do we consider ourselves “more lovable” because no one sees what is in our closets?
I was reading in the Gospels today and I think that Jesus’ example of friendship and love toward those with (visible) sin and struggle in their lives is how we each should live. We should be the Samaritan who helps others. We should include“sinners” at our table and welcome them into our homes and our churches.
The bottom line is my closet isn’t entirely clean. I would dare say that yours is not either. Maybe the world does not see what we hide away, but there is One Who does see everything we say and do. Our Heavenly Father knows each one of us full well. He not only knows what we say and what we do, He knows our thoughts and the longings of our hearts. And, He STILL is our Friend; He still chooses to love us.
I pray that I take Jesus’ words and His examples to heart. I ask God to reveal to me the struggles and sins in my own life so that I may grow in compassion for others instead of choosing to remain critical of them. I pray that God teach me to be the kind of friend that Jesus was when He walked this earth. I pray for a world in which love, acceptance and compassion flourish. I thank Jesus for being a Friend to me when I have been less than deserving. I pray we all learn from Jesus’ examples of friendship and love. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.
Luke 15:2 Luke 7:34 Luke 10:37
Kami R. Lobner