Stab me in the front.
Think friendship. What comes to mind? Did a face appear? Did the thought of someone long ago come to mind? Was there an attribute that jumped out when you thought-friendship? Who is your best friend? Why? Because you want them to be? Is your friendship mutual? When you think friendship do you think-loneliness?
You discover your wife is cheating on you-who do you tell?
Your daughter is unmarried and pregnant-who will share your pain?
Your child is gay-with whom will you share your heart?
You have lost your job because of something stupid that you did and with all the shame-who do you turn to?
You have handled your money poorly and now things are a mess-who will help you?
You can’t seem to drag yourself away from the images on your computer screen, you need help-who will it be?
Your spouse drinks too much and no one but you knows-is there someone you can tell?
These are situations that cry out for a friend, do you have one? No fair counting the confidentiality of your pastor or counselor.
It is a sad commentary on our lives that few have anyone with whom they could entrust such tough information. It is a sadder commentary on our faith communities.
An old proverb says: A friend is someone to whom you may pour out the contents of your heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.
A friend is someone who is still there when the whole world has gone away. You can tell a real friend by the fact that when you make a fool of yourself he doesn’t feel you have done a permanent job.
I have thought a lot about friendship lately and have been learning some important things about it. Perhaps the most important is that friendship needs real honesty both when there is something good that needs to be said and something uncomfortable that needs to be said.
I need friends who will tell me when I have hurt them and will tell me when I have blessed them. Friends who will tell me when I have played the fool and when I am being played for a fool. Friends speak the truth, even when the truth hurts.
Oscar Wilde said, A true friend always stabs you in the front. Ouch!
More on friendship later.