Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What 's the big deal about being a friend?

As we are getting to know those around us we experience both the collision and the calming nature of social interaction. It can be quite challenging. And for a few of us we'll become friends. I've been reading through Job this week and came across Job's time when his three friends come to him in his distress. They are assured that it is because of sin that he experiences his torture, and Job is lamenting and complaining on the whole process. As he does, there is a spark of wisdom that comes from his mouth concerning the character between a man and his friend. The ESV and NLT translations give a complementary approach to Job 6:14:

"One should be kind to a fainting friend, 
but you have accused me
without the slightest fear of the Almighty."
- New-Living Translation

"He who withholds kindness from a friend
forsakes the fear of the Almighty."
- English Standard Translation

Job is in anguish after everything has been taken from him. He ponders what his friend Eliphaz has just spoken to him and how his three friends - Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar - are treating him. Not with kindness, but they assume it is his own fault that he is in trouble. No consideration, no comfort, no kindness. Job then states that they are acting without the slightest fear of God. They aren't even helping him understand how he has gone away, if he even has (6:24). Here Job sees it more likely for them to sell and barter their friend before showing any sincere love to him (6:27).
From this small text, we see a glimpse of how much friends mean to each other in times of distress. Our response and approach should be to show our care and wanting to restore them. When one is kind they are described as: friendly, generous, considerate, charitable, a person that is motivated from a sympathetic understanding. And what is our fuel to do such - what is our motivation? Our fuel is to do what is acceptable and approved in the sight of the God-Almighty. To show compassion. It is to mirror his character and kindness. The same kindness that sent Christ to die for his enemies, for his church, and for his friends.
To lack in kindness, is to deny God. I know there are times for sternness, times for discipline, times for instruction, but a love for God and his glory is our motivation, and if others are rightfully feeling hated and despised, we are not in the right. I repeat - we are not in the right.
As 1 John 2:9-10 states that even if we say we love God and hate our brother - we are liars.
Let us resolve to love others by showing kindness to them. This is one of the stronger roots of friendship. This is one of the marks of God's Holy Spirit on Christians. This is a mark we need to be known by. 

1 comment:

  1. Love is essential for us to learn, especially for such a person like me, who is hyper-critical. May the Lord bless you and strengthen you, my dearest brother in Christ.