Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Friendships are something I’ve struggled with more than I’d like to admit. As with most struggles, it unintentionally emerged. At 16 years old and a sophomore in high school I found myself pursuing new friendships rather than remembering to pursue the old. While I thought I was just being a good friend and being intentional with this new friend, I unintentionally placed one of my lifelong friends on the back burner. I never meant to ignore her, or not communicate that I wanted to be her friend; I was just so busy living life that I didn’t think about her. I was focused on what was going on in my life, unaware of the fact that I was breaking her heart and tearing her apart.
Growing up, I know that I have not only hurt my friends, but I have also been hurt. While pursuing that new friendship, I sought after things that would only satisfy my flesh. I worried more and more of what others thought of me. I was controlled by what my friend said was acceptable and unacceptable. I found myself imitating her disrespect to her parents and making small compromises in other areas of my life. She broke me down. She showed me what it felt like to be
gossiped about, to be rejected and to simply not feel wanted.
Through those wounds I have made amends with those whom I have hurt. I apologized to them and have striven to rekindle friendships.
Now I am able to say that I have quality relationships in my life, relationships to hold me accountable and hold me up. I’ve had to learn how to develop myself into the friend that can not only be a recipient of those great qualities, but also reciprocate them. Here are some of the main pointers that I have discovered prove to be effective.
1. Be intentional.
Coming from someone who is very independently minded, I have to constantly remind myself to text my friends, to call them and ask them how they are doing. Its not because I don’t care about them, but simply because I forget. Actively pursuing my friends shows them that I really do care even when we can’t hang out in person. Choose them.
2. Learn their love language.
Snowballing off of number one, learning how someone receives love is extremely important. For instance, I would much rather someone text me an encouraging note than get me a new blanket. Now if they got me a new blanket I would love it immensely, however, their words mean so much more. Learn what makes your friends tick. Find out how you can best love them.
3. Pray for them.
It’s almost a guarantee that you’re not always going to agree with your friends, you will most likely fight and get in arguments. Before, during, and after these struggles it is so important to lift them up in prayer. When you pray for someone, not only does it get it off your mind and your heart, but you will also receive godly insight from Christ as to how to love them like He does.
There are many ways to demonstrate this important friendship quality. In a world filled with busy schedules where we hardly have time to sit down ourselves, sacrifice can look like giving up your time. Other times sacrifice could be giving up a couple dollars to get them a Starbucks because you know gifts are important to them. Sacrifice can look different for different people, but remember friends are there to carry one another as Ecclesiastes says, so do what it takes to be there for them.
As with any relationship, it’s all about selflessness. If you have struggled with friends in the past, or are dealing with a relationship now there is hope for the future. You can decide how to respond. In any friendship, it is vital that you make that person your priority. Be intentional with them; learn how to love them; pray with and for them. Remember that sacrifice is essential. If you feel like this does not really relate to you right now, I challenge you to ask yourself, are you reciprocating in your friendships? Are you holding your friends up? In Ecclesiastes, Solomon expressed the calling of Christ on our lives to be there for one another. We are called to be accountable. We are called to be friends. We are called to be like Christ.