HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
“12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:12-15)
We’re commanded to love each other in the same way He loved us, so I can’t help but think there’s a measure of Jesus in the making of new friends. As you open your life to new people, let these simple ideas help you transform a mere acquaintance into a true friend.
There’s always room for one more. Whether your life is overflowing with people or your day-to-day existence is pretty lonely, there’s room for another real friend. Most of us have more obligations than time—but the truth is most of us haven’t mastered managing our priorities. It’s not easy, but if you want to spend time on a relationship, chances are there is something you can change or remove to make room for it—whether it’s one night a month during which you do not work overtime so you can have dinner with a friend. Or spending your coffee break catching up by phone. Or texting something just because you know it will make him or her laugh. Or occasionally waking up an hour early to power-walk together before the rest of your house awakens. It’s worth the potential sacrifices. Or do like I do get to work early and have a chat with a coworker and you can start something like a group to share stories and experiences.
Practice selflessness and generosity. Many friendships die because one person resents putting forth all the effort, so decide now to be the person who does most of the work. People are busy, and their lack of communication may not be a rejection, but a normal response to a busy life. Don’t take it personally; try again. When you invest time with your friends, they’ll know they are valuable to you—and even if they don’t respond, you will know that you tried. Anytime we open ourselves up, we risk being hurt—but when our efforts are met with the same kind of generous spirit, the relationship expands exponentially and becomes more than you could have imagined.
Above all, before all, and through it all—love one another. It seems obvious and sounds trite, but it is true: love is the answer to nearly any question. In all things, err on the side of love. By doing so, you’ll brighten the life of anyone you’re involved with, and as you practice living the way Jesus taught, you’ll see more of him in your friends, and they’ll see more of him in you.
Let us Prayer for Friendship
Dear Lord, teach me to love others the way you first loved me. Hallelujah. As I build relationships with others, let them see you in the extent of my generosity, the authenticity of my kindness, and the depths of my love. All of those things are only possible through you, the God who abides with me and calls me friend. Teach us to appreciate each other and make you the center of our lives. Amen.