“The next person you meet could become one of the dearest friends in your life.” Beth Moore
As we journey here upon this earth, we will go through relational changes. Sometimes these relational changes are due to a job change or a physical move. Other times, a relational change may be due to a conflict. We have all experienced relational changes. The question is - how do you handle the changes and what will you choose to do next?
We all have friends we grew up with. We may not see them often, but when we do see them we seem to pick up the conversation where we last left off. These friends are like family. You are separated physically but you carry them in your heart. Prayerfully thank the LORD for these friends. These friends are there when you experience heartache and lose. They are also there to offer you encouragement. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 – 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. Friendship is a precious gift from our Heavenly Father.
Throughout Scripture, we see several examples of beautiful friendships. The friendship of Ruth and Naomi is one of mutual love and commitment. Scripture reveals the loyalty Ruth demonstrated towards Naomi. Naomi had experienced the death of her husband and two sons. She told her daughter-in-laws to go back to their families. But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me”- Ruth 1:16-17. True friendships includes love, commitment, and respect.
If you have never had the opportunity to be in transition, whether it be through a physical move or a job change, you may find yourself with the same group of friends that you have had for a very long time. You have not been faced with having to intentionally befriend others. This does not mean we should not look outward from our friend set to befriend others. We live in a world where people are looking to connect, looking for friendships. Prayerfully ask God to help you be aware of those He places in your path that quite possibly may become a very dear friend.
In the Book of Acts, we see a relational change which took place due to a conflict. Paul was about to begin his second missionary journey. Barnabas, a dear friend of Paul’s, had traveled with him on his first missionary journey. These two friends had a disagreement over taking Mark on the journey. Barnabas wanted Mark to go with them, but Paul didn’t because Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia. Acts 15:37-40. Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. This disagreement caused these two great preachers to form two teams, who continued to carry the Gospel Message to the world. These Scriptures reveal that God works even through conflicts and disagreements. Later, Scripture reveals to us that Mark became vital to Paul’s ministry. Paul and Barnabas probably could have handled this situation in a better way, but God worked through this situation, and the Gospel Message continued to be spread throughout the region. These men did not allow bitterness to take root. They continued on their journey, taking the responsibility to share Jesus with others.
Scripture also reveals to us the dear friendship between Paul and Timothy. Paul expressed in his letter to the Corinthians his love and respect for his friend Timothy. 1 Corinthians 4:17 – For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in ever church. Godly friendships contain love and respect.
I encourage you today to be on the lookout for who God has placed in your path. They may become a dear friend. Also don’t allow the bitterness of disagreements to take root in your heart. Bitterness will hinder the spread of the Gospel Message.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the dear friends you have placed in my life. I pray Father for the friends that I don’t see often and for those I might not see again until we reach our eternal home. Help us to show kindness and respect to the friends You have placed in our life. In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.