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20 January 2009

That's What Friends Are For

In the past few days, I've both sent and received the email titled "Fake Friends vs. Real Friends." It is a lighthearted look at friendship, with some real truth behind the smiles. How do you define a friend, and are friends something you really need? (written 30 Nov 07)

When you call someone your friend, what does that mean to you? In an earlier devotion I wrote about friends fulfilling different needs in our lives. But what is a friend? We have family, we have coworkers, we have acquaintances, and we have friends. Some are fortunate enough to have family that are also friends. I have certainly been blessed in that respect. Back to the subject, however: what IS a friend?

Dictionary.com defines friend as "a person attached to another by feelings or personal regard." On the same site, the American Heritage Dictionary defines friend as "a person whom one knows, likes, and trusts." Regardless of the definition you prefer, it seems to be pretty straightforward. A friend, to paraphrase Cheryl, is someone who can be as close as family. In this day and age where families seem to be more spread out than ever before, friends are very important. I define a friend as someone who always has your best interests in mind. They don't have to be someone you see every day, they don't even have to be someone you talk to every day - but of the number of people I count as friends, I know (not think but know) that I can count on them. A friend listens without judging, and supports you in your endeavors but doesn't hesitate to tell you if they think you've lost your mind :) A friend is not ashamed or afraid to show affection, because they don't care who knows that you means something special to them. A friend holds you when you cry (and sometimes cries with you), and laughs because you are happy. A friend loves you for who you are, not what they think you should be. Amazing, isn't it?

The most exciting part about friendship? We all have a friend in common, if we choose Him to be our friend. Jesus is everything a friend should be, and so much more. All we have to do to have Him as our friend is to ask Him into our life as our Lord and savior. Isn't that amazing? With our other friends, we had to "feel out" the relationship first. We had to get to know one another, and decide that we had a relationship worth pursuing. With Jesus, we have a friend that has known us since before we were even born! In Jeremiah 1:5 he says "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart ..." (NIV). How awesome is that?

Friends are a life support system in many ways. They make our day to day life much easier at times, and frustrate us to no end at other times. Through it all, true friends are worth having. I am proud to call Jesus my friend, my savior, my Lord. I am doubly blessed with the friends in my life here on earth.

Jesus, thank you for being my friend. Thank you for blessing me with good friends to help me through my life. Teach me to be a better friend, and to let my friends know that I am there for them. Guide me in the path that you would have me take.

After the Bible verse, the lyrics for "That's What Friends are For" follow. The song was released by Dionne Warwick and Friends (Stevie Wonder, Burt Bacharach, Elton John, Gladys Knight). I'm not quite sure if it was written by Elton John or Burt Bacharach (or both) ... Allen?? (help me out on this one!) It defines the topic almost perfectly.

"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother."~Proverbs 18:24 NIV

That's What Friends are For

And I never thought I'd feel this way
And as far as I'm
I'm glad I got the chance to say
That I do believe I love

And if I should ever go away
Well then close your eyes and try
To feel the way we do today
And then if you can remember

Keep smiling, keep shining
Knowing you can always count on me,
for sure
That's what friends are for
For good times and bad times
I'll be on your side forever more
That's what friends are for

Well you came in loving me
And now there's so much more I see
And so by the way I thank you
Oh and then for the times when we're apart
Well then close your eyes and know
The words are coming from my heart
And then if you can remember
copyright 1985 Arista Records

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