Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Friends Aren't Friends Forever

Whenever I hear someone talking about “friends,” my mind immediately goes to Michael W. Smith's hit song from the ‘80s. It gets in my head and I can’t get it out… especially the chorus:

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord's the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
'Cause the welcome will not end
Though it's hard to let you go
In the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not too long
To live as friends

– “Friends” by Michael W. Smith, 1992

Growing up, all I heard my young girlfriends at church sing was THIS SONG! I began to despise the words. The conclusion I made in my heart: it’s a bunch of sentimental malarkey.

Where was my annoyed response coming from?

Digging deeper, I discovered long-lost feelings of abandonment. I began to remember times in my past, involving some close friends, that fueled a lie I held in my heart. I believed I wasn’t worth keeping close, that I’m not worth the hassle.

One memory in particular, where that lie rooted in my soul, happened when I was six years old. I had a good friend named Joey. We went to the same school and church, and our dads were on a softball team together, so I saw him often.

Toward the end of my first-grade year, I found out he was moving all the way to some place called Hawaii. My mom explained that since his dad was in the military they had to go. Farewell day in the airport, I held onto my mom’s leg. She was a comfort as I watched my good friend get ready to leave. I brought him parting gifts, a coloring book and one of those 25-cent bouncy balls you get at the grocery store. At first, I didn’t want to go over and talk to him for fear of accepting the inevitable. It was too much for me. Just before they left, I walked over, gave him the gifts, and said “goodbye.”

Circumstances beyond control ended that friendship. It wasn’t anyone’s fault that I felt left behind. But I let it affect me to the point of where I became a people pleaser. From then on, I was so careful about how I acted because I was always afraid of my friends losing interest in me. I perpetuated that false state of mind, until I finally gave it to God. Now, when I need comfort in knowing that His love for me is unshakable, I read from John 15:9-17.

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other. (NIV)

In that moment when Jesus instructs us to care for one another, He also is reaffirming His love for us. Unlike everchanging relationships, He is and will be a true and constant friend you can turn to at anytime.

"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

Life will disrupt friendships, but nothing can break up the hold the Lord has on us.

I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:38-39 (The Message)

If you’ve been disappointed by a friend or life has taken that friend far away from you, allow God to heal that wound. He will bring His truth to break up that lie that you've let settle in your heart. By listening to His still small voice and reading His Word, I have released that feeling of unworthiness in my own life. And God can do it for you too.

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