A relationship with another person in which both parties find joy and comfort when together. There are different levels of friendships, from just acknowledging the friend to the intimate relationship of your spouse. Yes, your spouse is a friend and actually should be your closest friend. Then come the friends who we can be open and candid with. Finally the friends we enjoy hanging out with but simply are not as close to us on an emotional level.
It is strange but true, the way we hurt the ones we love and hold most dear. I don’t really understand that, but it seems that the strangest reactions can occur between the closest of friends. A snide comment or reaction can quickly roar into an emotional fire storm. In those moments we need to be humble and apologize.
We must be careful about the friends with whom we are open and candid. Because these relationships can put us in a vulnerable position, these friends should be the same gender as us. This will aid in protecting us from growing too close emotionally and opening ourselves up to temptation. In this emotional environment both parties can be innocent but can inevitably grow closer at an emotional level and this can lead to physical attraction as well. So it is best to avoid that all together. This level of friendship must also be trustworthy and honest. Constructive criticism at this level should never be taken as an attack but as a supportive expression to aid in our growth.
Now the group of persons that we enjoy hanging out with, but they would not be considered as close friends… This can be a very large number of persons with different levels of commitment to the relationship. Some of these persons may be close to becoming the accountability level person while others are more at the arms length position. Some of these might also only be enjoyable with certain other friends in the mix.
Then there are those who are acquaintances. These persons are not really friends and many times they are friends of friends…just on the periphery of beings our friends.
Aren’t we suppose to love everyone the same and be friends with everyone? Yes. But that being said we can look at Christ’s example while on earth. He had twelve recorded disciples (the group of people He travelled and hung out with). Out of this twelve He had a group of there (Peter, James, and John) that we’re His closest friends. These three accompanied Him on the Mount of Transfiguration not all twelve. There were other disciples as well but they must not have been as close as the twelve recorded in scripture.
Let us be humble and thoughtful in our relationships, cultivating them for strength. May we be working with each other to reveal God through our relationships, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” John 13:34-35 NLT. If we can show the world that we are Christ’s disciples we can, perhaps bring a desire for relationship with God to the world and build the Kingdom of God.