Recently, a friend of mine came over to my house the other day and asked me if he could borrow my projector for a presentation he was giving at work. It was his visit that got me to thinking about friendship. When my daughters we small, they loved these toys called “FurReal Friends.” They were little stuffed animals with mechanical bodies that mimicked the sounds and movements of a real animal. Amy and I have been suckered in to buying several of these over the years. We have a FurReal cat, panda, polar bear, and a couple of FurReal dogs! I guess that’s why when I got thinking about friendship, my mind went to this idea of, not FurReal Friends but ForReal friends.
In case you haven’t a clue about what I’m talking about, here are a couple of examples that may help you understand what I mean when I say FOR-REAL FRIENDS. There are people who are “FAIR WEATHER FRIENDS” and then there are people who are “YOU SCRATCH MY BACK AND I’LL SCRATCH YOUR BACK FRIENDS.”
FAIR WEATHER FRIENDS are those people who say that they are your friend but their friendship is shallow. It’s without any depth to it because it is based on just the right conditions… their conditions. Conditions that satisfy their needs only. So long as you meet the conditions of what they think the relationship should be, they’ll remain your friend. These types of people are concerned mostly about themselves. The slightest disagreement will be treated as a change in the temperature of the weather and they are ready to end their friend with you. People who lack self-esteem quickly fall into this type of relationship.
The YOU SCRATCH MY BACK AND I’LL SCRATCH YOUR BACK FRIENDS are always looking at what’s in it for me. These relationships are built on each party’s ability to mutually use each other. These friendships are often full of friction because one of them usually gets tired of being used by the other. One of them will have figured out that they are the one who has been getting the short end of the stick most of the time. There is no true friendship when the friendship is based on what someone can or will do for us.
THE VICIOUS CYCLE
These relationships that I’ve mentioned are easy to get into but, not always so easy to break free from. They can become a vicious cycle without the help of God. Ask me how do I know … Been There And Done That. I regrettably admit that I have been on both the receiving end and giving end of these types of friendships. At the time I didn’t realize what they were. But when the Lord revealed to me where I was and where I was headed, I knew that the relationship had to end. Nevertheless, I was caught up in this vicious cycle. Like a vortex, the more you struggle to set yourself free the more you get sucked back in. It wasn’t until I cried out to the Lord for His help that I was set free.
Psalm 107:2 Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story-those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.
Psalm 107:6 Then they cried out to the lord in their trouble, and he delivered then from their stress.
I CRIED OUT TO THE LORD
I have focused on these two scriptures but I suggest that you go to the Bible and read all of Psalms 107 to fully understand why. Until you have reason to cry out you’ll never get to the place God wants you to be. The world will tell you that necessity is the mother of invention but, I say God is the creator of them both- necessity and invention. Amen!
If you are in a friendship that isn’t a FOR-REAL friendship, I encourage you to seek the Lord for help and wisdom. Maybe when you cry out to the Lord, you’ll discover that you haven’t been the kind of friend you should. Maybe you’ll find that the friendship you have with someone isn’t healthy and isn’t bringing out the best in you and isn’t bringing glory to the Lord. Maybe you’ll be challenged to be wise about the company you keep. The friend I mentioned earlier who asked to borrow my projector is truly a ForReal Friend. Our friendship is not based on what he can do for me or about what I can do for him. It’s not about being friends when the weather conditions are just right. It’s a friendship based on Christ … who He is to us and who He would have us be to each other. I praise God for the For-Real friends He has given me and I pray that each of you will be blessed with the gift of For-Real friends!