A Friend Does This Well..

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This past week, I was able to spend an extended amount of time with a friend that I have walked through many seasons of life with. Having spent some time visiting Steph, I’m really thoughtful about friendships in general. As I think about my friendships with Steph and others these verses continue to come to mind.

Observation


A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 (ESV)

Jesus is talking to His disciples here. He wants them to know that as followers of Christ, their love for one another makes them distinctly different. When they love as Christ loved, people know who they belong to. They belong to Christ!

As I’ve mediated on these verses I’ve had to ask myself a lot of questions about my own friendships and what motivates my love for each of my friends.  Do I love as Christ loved me? What does Christ’s love look like? When I was seeking answers to these questions, another verse came to mind.

 By this we know love that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 1 John 3:16 (ESV)

Interpretation

I’ve read this verse so many times before, and it would be so easy for me to just read it again and tuck it away as good advice. But I have to stop and think…ask myself (and the Lord) these questions and  more.

Do I love like you do Lord?
In my friendships, do I lay down my life for others?
What does this even look like?

As I’ve processed and prayed over the past few days, the Lord has shown me how more often than not, I look for my friendships to gain something rather than give. Entertainment, encouragement, comfort, love, or just a desire to fit in that usually drives my motivations. I contact people when it’s convenient for me and my schedule. If I’m stressed, I expect people to reach out to me…I’m too busy to reach out to them. I tend to put myself around people that are easiest to deal with and don’t take a lot out of me. As I realize the reality of my relationships, I’m grieved by my selfishness. I see clearly that Christ is not at the center of my motivations…I am.

Application


So, how can I change? How can I begin to love people as Christ loved? I’m still seeking the Lord and asking Him to show me how to lay down my life for my sisters and brothers. Here are a few ideas I’ve had this week…

  • When I’m offended – forgive, don’t try to punish the other person by putting up a wall, and pushing them out.
  • When I don’t understand someone – ask questions to try to get to know them and why they do what they do. Don’t pass judgment and write someone off because I don’t understand them.
  • When I don’t have time – Quit telling people “hey let’s get together” and then never schedule a time to hang out. I need to lay aside my own schedule so my friends have priority.
  • When I’m with my friends – I need to quit thinking about myself and how our time is benefitting me. I need to look to Christ, and ask Him to show me how I can spend this time laying down my life for my friend.

Brothers and sisters, I pray the Lord will reveal to us more of about His love, and that He’ll show us how we can then love others in that same way! May others looking on see Christ as we lay down our lives for one another!

Brooke Ritterbush
Director of Transform Student Ministries

 

 

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