To Friend or NOT to Friend is NOT the Question

Baskin and Robbins began as brothers-in-law. Holmes was looking for a roommate and Watson, an apartment; a co-acquaintance introduced them. Ben and Jerry met in a junior high gym class. George and Laura Bush met at a barbecue; she was a Democrat at the time.

You just never know!

Once we pass the stage of just smiling, waving, and discussing the weather; once we acknowledge this friendship has gone beyond mere mutual co-existence; once we begin missing someone and caring about his troubles, we slide into the third stage of friendship.

And we’d better have done our homework first.

What the ancients called ahab in Hebrew and hoi soi in Greek is that comfortable belovedness that we call familiar friendship. It’s that willing leaning into the yoke together, a certain smiling oneness that tells us “we like this.” Examples appear in Esther 5:10 and Mark 5:19.

It’s time for caution.

Friends come and go, but it’s a good idea to hang on to your soul, to make sure someone doesn’t carry your personality off while you’re not looking.

Some friendships are simply dangerous and the deeper we trust someone, the more it is imperative they be trustworthy. Therefore, the closer we draw to anyone, the more appropriate and vital our conversations become. Certain things must be discussed. As we work, play, eat, and rest with a friend, we who care must constantly ask, bit by bit, constantly seek that open door to deeper understanding of each other.

I know, some folks never talk about politics and religion, but really, how can we ever grow closer without that? Life goals, ideologies, and other matters about which we are logically careful, must be open to those with whom we are open. When we allow others to influence the fragile matrix of the core of our being, we must know where we stand.

And yet . . .

What a glorious opportunity presents itself when we share openly with someone who has long desired a way to heal, a way to stand more firmly! Questions again become the food and drink of friendship and we find that if we can be strong, we can hold out a hand to the weak, extend a lifeline to the perishing. Our very presence can signal the hope like a lighthouse in a storm. Lives can spring back to life and new light can thunder in to glorious dawning.

An older man we know has befriended a young man for ages, taking him to public events, connecting at lunch occasionally, sometimes fishing with him. The young man’s marriage recently went through a severe test, but he is learning how to come out of this time in victory. He has drawn closer than ever to his beloved family, so opposite from what the enemy of our souls obviously wanted. Throughout this time, he has not failed to call upon the older man for prayer, advice, and simple acceptance. He is winning. He has come out on the other side, now. He has new strength. He grows daily.

All because of friendship, all from a good old comfortable friend who has touched God.

It’s what we need, what we crave; or it’s what we have, what we long to share; it’s why we aim at friendship in the first place.

Who among us has not been there.

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13 thoughts on “To Friend or NOT to Friend is NOT the Question

  1. Karen says:

    Thank you so much for this Kathy. I am in tears just reading it. There has been a friend like this in my life recently. She is like that “signal of hope, a light house.” She directed me to THE LIGHT and that is Jesus. I now have NEW LIGHT that you mentioned in your post.

    It seems that today is one of MY most difficult days in about a month or so. I need that Friend today. I need HIM, that one who sticks CLOSER than a brother.

    Thank you again for this series. God has blessed you with a gift.

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Oh, thank you for your kind words, Karen! That was precious. How wonderful that the Friend we all need is always just a deep sigh away! 🙂 Yes, closer than a brother, although He IS our heavenly Brother . . .

      • Karen says:

        Wow! This post really touched us. Again, thank you. The Lord blessed me today. I was able to share with a friend the things troubling me. She was most helpful. God has worked greatly in those trials.
        Keep up the wonderful ministry God is using you for here.
        Love ya,
        KAREN

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Thank you, Amy! I hope, too, and will pray with you that your old friendship can pick up in a good place. I have found, though, that can be difficult. But when we fix our eyes on the Lord, He can show us where a friendship CAN pick up. And usually it is at a better place.

  2. Hubby says:

    Keep up the good work! Don’t get distracted by unnecessary enticements and attractions and you will have time to do all the Lord wants you to accomplish. Take it one day at a time. Love you bunches!

  3. Kate Kresse says:

    i am going to comment again in a little while, katharine. there are so many eloquent points in this post. I love the lighthouse metaphor…i love your analysis of ensuring that someone is trustworthy, bit by bit or layer by layer if you will. wonderful and inspiring words today. thank you, thank you , thank you!

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Thanks, Kate! I think my main concern is ensuring that I am trustworthy, if I am desiring deeper layers of trust. But if I GIVE trust to someone, then that person must be trustworthy, too, you are right. Anyone who has ever misplaced trust can tell all about it. Many people try to be a lighthouse, but not all are true to reality. If I am following a wrong light, I am headed for shipwreck, a sad truth many will refuse to accept. I look forward to your continuing comments! 🙂

  4. Victoria says:

    I agree that it’s very important for us to dig deeper into our friendships, to find out if they are truly healthy, and that does include discussing “touchy” subjects. However, I think it is also important not to dismiss a potential friend simply on a basis of disagreement.

    My best friend and I have very different opinions on many things. I know her position, and I’m comfortable with the difference because I know she is a strong Christian. I know that she encourages me as a Christian wife.

    So, while very major differences should set off alarm bells, minor ones can often strengthen the friendship and solidify it.

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Thanks for this well-thought-out reply, Victoria! Friendships can be complicated, it’s true. And you are right: never dismiss a *potential* friend on the basis of some minor disagreement. It’s when our lives are totally entangled with someone else’s and that someone is headed for danger, that we must make decisions: Will I be drug into danger too? Will I attempt to snatch this friend from danger? And how “close” to danger is safe? I befriend several women who have made it clear I can never mention educational issues because I homeschool and they do not. We cannot discuss our children, our taxes, and several other important topics, because of this. How close can we really be? Their defenses are always up because they feel condemned and I never said a word. Not too close. Still I try to befriend in small ways. It’s the best I can do. This year, one of them began homeschooling. I never said a word. But she now greets me so sweetly and needs encouragement weekly. I believe this amazing change came because it is true: Two cannot walk together unless they agree. I could befriend her for years, but she was not free to receive it. Now she is. It makes a world of difference. I will also say this, Anyone Victoria befriends certainly receives a blessing. That is what it is all about: blessing. 🙂

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