This kind of friend comes from that kind of love..

This weekend our lead Pastor and his wife introduced a new message series on the topic of relationships and the sacrificial kind of love that comes into play when we follow the precepts set before us…on how to love. In a nutshell…we were designed to be ‘together’…we were designed to mirror in one another the kind of love that God has infinitely displayed for us…we were designed …to love…and to love well..because that love will always point back to the one who IS LOVE – God. We know all of this but lets be honest…retaining and preserving relationships can be harder in real life than…on paper…or in this day and age…through the keyboard.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

Do you have one of those kinds of friends? Someone who walks right next to you…holds your hand…holds your chin up…believes the best…hopes for you…lets you cry…lets you laugh…rejoices when you succeed and mourns with you when you fall…speaks the truth in love…because love …well…it loves to much to let you hear anything less than the truth. I have a few precious friends like that and for that I am so grateful. Some live near me and some far away but time and distance doesn’t separate the heart. These friends have been there for the good stuff…and the not so great stuff. They have been there when I have been a good friend and when I have stunk at being a good friend. They have been there…like really been there…those kinds of friends are rare and I am beyond baffled that God has given me a handful of them…lucky…blessed…grateful.

Today.. I was pondering a friendship that I have had for almost 30 years. Her name is Lisa. Lisa has been my BFF – literally – FOREVER….no matter how juvenile it sounds to say BFF…that we truly are…we committed to it nearly 30 years ago and have been such ever since…not because we always agreed, not because we did ‘friendship’ perfect, not because we were the same…but I believe because we were kindred spirits…

We met when we were 9…go ahead…do the math…I’m 38.. ugh… Anyway, we met in 3rd grade – where piggy tails, Hollie Hobby, barbie dolls, cooties, reading Little House on the Prairie series, Amelia Bedilia, double dutch and hopscotch ruled. We were exact opposites..and yet somehow so very much the same. I had dark hair, dark eyes and dark skin…she had beautiful blue eyes, blonde as blonde could be hair and creamy white skin with the cutest little freckles on her nose. She played piano – I sang. She could sew…and…uhhh I couldn’t. She was a bit quiet and reserved and I was loud and laughed like a hyena….still do. She saved her money..and I spent mine.. She thought before she made decisions – I was impulsive. She picked guys to date that were at least of her faith…I picked ..guys that would resemble Satan. We were quite different and yet so much alike…we both loved to write, we both loved music, we both loved gymnastics and cheerleading, we both loved to dream, we both saw life perhaps a bit deeper than our young innocent years…we were both… old souls…we both desperately wanted to be accepted…and accept each other we did. Together we went through…all the ‘going through’ of life..together. Some of the ‘going through’ was in person…but some was from across the miles. No matter the struggle ..or the joy…we have always done the ‘going through’ of life whether or not we were near or not near because our hearts were knitted….and still are to this day.

The thing that struck me after the message from this weekend was a portion where Julie our lead Pastors wife made the comment “some debts cannot be repaid and that is the way it’s suppose to be”. She was recounting on the goodness of people whom had come into her trial and given her love, shown love and displayed a giving that was beyond the realm of her ability to pay back. I thought back about my friendship with Lisa and how…she was that person and still is to this day. She was always that selfless friend who gave…and gave…and gave…not because I necessarily deserved it…because to be honest I was a little brat sometimes…but she expected nothing in return…because she wanted to give and love..without strings attached. It’s the kind of love depicted in 1 Corinithians 13. The kind that says…I won’t keep a record, I will always believe the best, I won’t give up on you even though you are a maniac because you keep dating loser guys and keep losing your mind…well I don’t think it actually says that part but …uhhh I think the whole ‘doesn’t keep a record of wrongs’.. well she followed that one really well. She loved well…because she loved like someone greater than her..I have a lot of friends and family who love like this…it’s remarkable really.

This kind of love…can only be genuine from a heart that knows a love greater than themselves. While this kind of friend is human and not perfect the desire to love like this comes from someone who genuinely wants to be decreased in their own nature and more like the nature of Gods heart. This kind of love isis the kind of love that Aaron and Hur had for Moses when his hands were to heavy facing the battle that raged and together they held his tired arms up for him. This is the kind of love that Jonathan displayed even to the point of betraying his own father to love David well. This is the kind of love that Ruth had for Naomi when asked to just move on with her life…she said ‘no, where you go, I will go”. But the best demonstration of this kind of love…

This is the kind of love that Jesus demonstrated for us as He lovingly went to the cross allow not his sins…but MY sins to be nailed for all eternity so that we could know that kind of love…

This kind of love is…otherworldly love…<em>generous</em>…loves the prodigal who comes home after wandering…this kind of love forgives that same prodigal for hanging with the pigs…and still loves the bitter one who refuses this love…this kind of love is the same love that gave the same pay to those who came last as those who came first…generous love…extravagant love. We all have the capacity to love in this kind of way..maybe not perfectly because …we aren’t perfect…but Christ’s love in and through us is PERFECT…perfectly beautiful. I haven’t always loved like this…in my youth and even in my adulthood my ability to love well was compromised by insecurity, selfishness, critical, prideful and an afraid to love limit…and I’m still learning…growing…I pray that God will continue to spear my heart with a desire to love more like Him and less like me…to love more generously. I’m thankful for the friends like Lisa…and others who have loved me like this…loved me in spite of me…loved me like Jesus…
and I hope to love them more like 1 Corinthians 13.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8