A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature. (Ralph Waldo Emerson) Do you have a 'masterpiece' in your life? I do and am blessed to have one! Did you ever stop for a moment to consider what scripture has to say about friendship? For one thing, we are highly encouraged to make God our closest friend (James 4:8). God's friendship is often revealed in the ways we interact with each other on this earth - in the ways we form relationships, nurture them, and come to appreciate the blessings we have in them. When we consider 'picking' a friend on this earth, here are some pointers from scripture:
1. They should be a constant guide - leading us toward goodness and away from things that harm. One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. (Proverbs 12:26)
2. They will help us grow in wisdom - leaving unwholesome ways of thinking and acting behind. Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20)
3. They will be even-tempered and considerate - helping us to develop these same characteristics in our own lives. Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. (Proverbs 22:24-25)
Our choice of friendship begins with our relationship with Christ and then if we are wise, we will choose others to surround us who build us up and help us to be more Christ-like in our behavior. Luke reminded us to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves - in a kind, loving, and considerate manner. (Luke 6:31) We might find it hard to make friends, but once we have made a good friendship we may find it is even harder to keep it! Why? We don't always act like we are supposed to! Sometimes we get self-focused and forget about the needs of others. Maybe we get a little over-zealous in our enthusiasm toward some things and lose focus of the things that matter to the other person. Regardless of where we 'bumble' in relationship, if we have chosen well, there will be one over-arching thing that remains - grace.
Grace brings us together - grace keeps us together. Plain and simple - we all need grace from time to time, regardless of how solid the relationship is between us. We will say things we didn't think through. We will act before counting the cost of the actions. We will make mistakes in relationship, but when the relationship is rooted in grace, it will endure these 'bumbles'. The price of friendship is high, but well-worth the 'expense'! The one who seeks a masterpiece must be willing to be worked on by the Master who creates all masterpieces in the first place! Just sayin!