Today, true friendship is both hard to find and hard to define. That is why we take our time before calling somebody a friend. Friendship is a seed which grows slowly and it must be tested before it deserves that appellation.
In fact, a true friend is someone who is loyal, caring, understanding, giving, and willing to listen and to communicate with you on different issues.
When one is lucky to have a true friend, then one has somebody that he or she can always trust with his or her inner thoughts.
Needless to say, such a person would be very valuable in one’s life, since he or she shall be there on one’s side, and throughout one’s ups and downs.
Unlike good weather friends, a true friend is a great source of encouragement because he or she will continue to believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself.
In the Bible, Jesus gives himself as an example of a true friend for the whole of humanity. In addition to that he elevates man by calling him a friend in his own words “Greater love has no one than he, who lay down his life for his friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.
Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (Jn 15:13-15). The Apostle Paul explains to us what that means for the whole of humanity: “God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rm 5:7-8). “ And that is true friendship.
When Jesus called his disciples and of course the rest of us Christians to be his friends, humanly speaking, this raised a question which is hard to answer: Into what kind of relationship have we been invited by Christ?
What does it mean really to be part of a true friendship with God? Well, Jesus in order to clear our fears, he tells us first what it is not! It is not the relationship of a master and a slave. It is not about blind obedience to some unknowable deity, no matter how benevolent that deity might be.
On the contrary, when Jesus called his disciples his friends, he invited them into an entirely new level of relationship with God, one enjoyed by very few people like Abraham in the history of man kind.
Jesus invited these men and women of his time to be intimately involved with his own life with the Father. He invited them to share in his own joy, his own fears and pain, his own being and likewise he desired also to enter into these people’s own stories of their lives.
In fact it is very interesting to note how these people were allowed into a mutual relationship with God; which was not one-sided, without anything hidden, nothing oppressive, and nothing to fear at all in front of God turned into a friend.
This was one of the greatest gifts that humanity has got from God. We are friends of God. By this gesture, we have been all invited to become one with Christ and one with his Father.
This relationship has in turn added value to what it means for us to be human. Together as a human race and separately as individuals, we should feel ourselves as a chosen people of God.
He has chosen us into the kind of love which knows no boundaries. And this must have lots of implications to us. We are to love others both tenderly and responsibly as God has loved us.
We must love ourselves such that we live up to our potential, which is to live with integrity, to know that we are precious before God, and worthy of respect and love from others.
This kind of man’s relationship with God is in turn one of man’s greatest challenge because of its expectations. As friends of God, we are called to reflect that kind of godly love which does not recognize our present artificial boundaries of race, gender, orientation, political affiliations, social class, creed, ethnicity and any other kind of ill feelings which might lead to different ideologies of genocide.
In order to meet the above challenges, we must be ready to receive that unconditional love and to give it as well. It requires us to find time to listen to God’s friendly voice so that it may help us to choose in turn the paths that we may travel, as we reach out to all who are in times of trouble.
That way we shall fulfill our mission as a people chosen by God and sent into the world to invite others into the same friendship with God.
And with that attitude God himself shall shield us and unable us to see and judge well the realities of this world into which we have been called as living witness of joy and love; not in words but in deeds.