I recently scrawled the statement, "Friendship gives us wings". I truly believe this is true. How many of us have been blessed by a friend who encouraged us, told us to stop thinking those crazy, negative thoughts, or just listened to us as we mumbled through tears? I know I have. I do not what I would do without the friendship of my husband, who loves me unreservedly. Nor what I would do without the love of my friends, who often see my potential when I can not.
Unfortunately, the opposite of my above statement can also be true, and most undoubtedly will become true at one point in our lives. Friendship can bruise our wings. It is inevitable that we will stumble upon difficulty in our relationships. We will stumble upon hurt and selfishness and pride. We are selfish beings. Whether the difficulty is with our spouse, family, or friend, we will be put to the test.
Jesus was put to the test on all fronts. He went before us into every difficulty imaginable. Think of Him kneeling down to wash the feet of those who would desert Him. Then gently scrubbing the dust off of the feet of the one who would deny Him. And finally, kneeling before the very one who would betray Him.
Did you know that Jesus called Judas "Friend" even after Judas gave him the kiss? I had never seen that before. But there it is in the book of Matthew 26:48-50
"Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, 'Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.' Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, 'Greetings, Rabbi!' and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, 'Friend, why have you come?' Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him."
There, at the very moment of betrayal, He still called Judas "Friend". Whoa. I don't know if I can follow this example! In fact, I know I really can't, not by myself at least. Please, don't ask me to follow You in this way!
I look at places and times in my life where I have suffered difficulty in my relationships and compared to His sufferings, they are miniscule. Yet, He cares for me in my difficult times. I believe He has allowed my difficulties into my life, to mold me, purify me, sift me. To make me just slightly more like Himself. "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death..." Philippians 3:10. I still have a very, very long way to go...
Lord, help me as I dare to follow You.
And as I stumble down this path, make me more humble, more like You.