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Friendship with God & others

How do we understand ‘Friendship’? A friend is a person whom we get to know outside the family, mostly from our school and college, with whom we feel we share the same wavelength and hence we develop intimacy This can be for short periods or spanning over many years. I In my opinion, friendship should be understood as a concept rather than as a person and the concept of friendship can be inculcated into our other relationships also.
So who is a good friend? The English saying ‘A friend in need, is a friend indeed’ gives the answer and the Word of God also gives the same answer through the story of ‘The Good Samaritan’. So whoever understands us and our situation, identifies our needs and actually steps in to share our joy or grief, need or blessing, stands by us in wellbeing or sickness, wholeheartedly and sacrificially is a true friend for us.

Friendship with God
For a Christian, the Word of God teaches us to give the first priority to God. The Word of God describes Him as a holy God, an awesome God, a consuming fire etc. Because of these attributes, many a times, we put him on a very high pedestal and try to keep Him away from us; obviously thinking we are giving Him a very high position. But is that what God expects from us? Do we do this to our friends? Obviously No. We feel that our friend is equal to us and hence keeps him or her close to us.

Jesus Christ, being fully God, humbled himself to take the form of man, left His Father’s side, came to this Earth, lived among us, took our sins upon himself, took all the torture in our place and died on the Cross for us to become our FRIEND. In John 15:13 He says “Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. As a song writer said “I have found a friend in Jesus, He is everything to me”.
Dear brothers and sisters, you might have many friends from different spheres of your life – but have you found the greatest friend in Jesus, who laid down His life for you?

Friendship with Parents
I see many people who give more significance to their friends, rather than to their parents – they like to spend most of their time with their friends, share things with them, take advice from their them, and run to friends in times of need and distress “ Our friends understand us more, accept us as weare, and identify with us”

We come into this world, as God desired it, through our parents. Our parents spend sleepless nights taking care of us when we are young, they invest their time and resources for us. They correct us so that we are more refined and they always desire the best for us and in us. We need to understand that, when our parents direct us, they correct us, or guide us – they are not doing it because they are competing with us in anyway that might be the case with friends and colleagues. But our parents do all this because they love us and always desire the best for us.

We may greet them on their birthdays or Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. But that’s not enough. Our parents have been there for us in our times of need ; so we ought to be there for them as a good friend in their time of need, especially in their old age. Can you be a good and true friend to your parents?

Friendship with your Spouse
Your spouse is your better half. The world may call a spouse a ‘bitter half’ and many youngsters opt out of marriage. Why does this happen? Because people share everything with their friends, but not with their your spouse. Communication is the basic foundation of a successful family life.- two-way, transparent, and constant. Friends come and go in life and you are never their top priority. But as for your spouse, both of you have exchanged vows with each other and with God that, you will love, honor and take care of each other in all situations of life, giving each other the next position after God. You cannot hide anything from God since He knows you inside out If couples have the same principle take a vow “I do not want to hide anything from my spouse”, you will find a great friend in your spouse who will walk with you step by step, side by side, throughout your life.

Friendship with your Kids
Some parents are very rigid towards their children. “I am your parent. I need to be consulted, respected,” etc. they say. This works fine till the child is a minor because the child is totally dependent on the parent for his or her food, clothing, protection, studies etc. But as the child becomes an adult, he or she breaks free from their bondage and just moves away developing other relationships which are mutually beneficial. Parents need to play multiple roles in the life of their kids, initially as provider when their kids are small, then as friends when their kids move on to teenage, as facilitators when they emerge as adults and later on as peacemakers as they have their own families.

Friendship with Others
We have a lot of interactions with the world around us; some good, some bad; some short term, some long term; some beneficial, some incurring loss etc. If our vertical relationship with God Is right, all our horizontal relationships with others will also work out perfectly, be it our friends, family, colleagues, neighbours, Church members or anyone. And that is what we need to strive for.

Renjan Mathew Varghese, The writer is State Director for WWF-India and is based in Thiruvananthapuram with his wife Neelu, daughters Reeba and Ruth and mother Aleyamma Varghese. 98472 87725/ renjanmv@gmail.com

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