“Oil and perfume make the heart glad; so does the sweetness of a friend’s counsel that comes from the heart.” Proverbs 27:9 amp
“By friendship you mean the greatest love, the greatest usefulness, the most open communication, the noblest sufferings, the severest truth, the heartiest counsel, and the greatest union of minds of which brave men and women are capable.” Jeremy Taylor
A true friendship is such a gift! If you have the fortune of having a true friend, you know that friendship is not always easy, but the effort is always worth it. Friendship like any relationship needs to be nurtured and safe guarded. Mama, God intended for us to have friends and for us to pour into one another! He wants us to hold each other’s hands up in trying times and to share a word of encouragement in season. Maybe you have allowed some of your friendships to fizzle out because of busyness, or perhaps there is unforgiveness for something that was harshly said, or perhaps a misunderstanding hasn’t been rectified between you. Christian friendship needs to point to grace!
Let me encourage you go to your friend and ask to start fresh. It’s quite biblical to go to your neighbor and confess wrongdoing. Matthew 5:23-24 (nkjv) states, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and
there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” God loves to restore relationships. Will you pray about whom you need to reconnect with and possibly apologize to? Commit to pray for these friends and with your friends! Set aside time and make an effort to connect on a personal level.
How many of us have grown up hearing our parents quote the Golden Rule multiple times a day? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I have followed my mama’s habit out of necessity, with five kids at home to teach and correct on how to love one another. I can be heard touting the same verbiage daily. I desire for my children to be kind and to treat others with respect. I want to teach them that in order to have friends, you have to be a friend. A tangible one! In Colossians 3, we are exhorted to actively pursue being a godly friend to others, to actively pursue patience, forgiveness, love, and thanksgiving. By pursuing others this way, we extend a friendship that we desire.
I love the exercise of loving others in their love language. This is very rewarding in marriage but can also be applied to friendships! We should love our friends in the language that ministers to their hearts. If your friend loves gifts, then bring a cup of coffee or tea next time you see her. If she appreciates acts of service, offer to watch her kiddos so she can run errands or help her fold laundry while visiting. If she loves words of affirmation, jot down a note telling her how much you appreciate her. If your friend appreciates physical touch, make sure to hug her hello and goodbye. If quality time is her love language, make sure to carve out enough time to go shopping or just sit and chat. If you don’t know what makes your friend’s heart feel full, simply ask her or try all the above suggestions! Watch to see which one blesses her the most, and then treasure your friend as the gift she is!
Faith-Filled Idea: Ways to Go Deeper
Are you the type of friend others want to be around or can count on? God can help us be sensitive to the needs of our friends. Ask the Lord about going deeper with your friendships, including loving your friends’ children, praying for your friends’ marriages, and forgiving a friend’s hurtful offense. Ask the Lord to help you lend a listening ear more often or manage your time better so you can just sit and be there. Perhaps you need to extend love to a friend through an act of kindness—going the extra mile by making a meal or lending a hand with childcare or perhaps by just offering a shoulder to cry on, a hug, or a smile when celebrating a small success. There are so many different ways to show tangible love and embrace our friendships!
Most of us love the way we want to be loved. So I find myself doing kind things to bless others, otherwise known as acts of service. It fills my boat to love in this way. Last year for my friend Rachel’s birthday, I made her favorite dessert—carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. It was a labor of love but worth the effort. If you want authentically amazing carrot cake, try my recipe on page 214 in the “HELPful Resources.”