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Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

Friends

By Helen O’Brien, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral

Matthew Perry (second left), who played Chandler Bing in 90s sitcom Friends, died recently.

As I’m sure that most of you are aware, Matthew Perry, who played Chandler Bing in 90s sitcom Friends, died recently.

There has been much grief expressed on social media.

This got me thinking about friendship. I have been carried by my friends recently and I wasn’t sure I could write about this but here goes.

Friendship is important to all humans. There are many stories in the Bible of friendships. David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1-3), Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17), Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 2:49), to name but a few. 

How can you get good friends?

1. Pray. 

Have you ever met someone and thought, “oh I like this person, I think we could be friends,” but a few weeks later they say something that makes you look at them in a different way and you pull back. They might be a cat person but you are a dog person. You might vote Green Party and they don’t vote. On the surface it’s relatively trivial but it becomes a barrier to friendship. 

The Bible advises caution when choosing friends. Proverbs 12:26 says “The righteous choose their friends carefully…” but is something so minor worth missing out on what might become a deep friendship? Before you pull away, pray. Ask God for wisdom about who to befriend. 

2. Be intentional.

There was a bunch of older mums at Kez and Mikey’s primary school. We agreed we would stay friends regardless of whether our kids were friends or not. 

3. Invest your time and energy.

Friends are precious things and friendships require tending like gardens. The more we tend a garden the more beautiful it becomes, the same is true of friendships.

4. Don’t require perfection.

Jesus surrounded himself with 12 close friends, but his best friends were two argumentative sisters and their brother. Perfect friends don’t exist

5. Be prepared to be vulnerable.

Great friends look after you when you can’t look after yourself. This last month my friends have held me in prayer, literally held me while I sobbed, fed me meals when cooking was the last thing I could do, fed me chocolate biscuits, taken me out and blessed me, not pried, just prayed. They have prayed when I couldn’t.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend Proverbs 27:17

One friend, when she saw me in McDonald’s car park, gave me the Bible verses 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 

Other fast food restaurants are available, but you won’t get words of comfort like that from anywhere other than a Godly friend quoting the Bible.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17:17

Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. Job 6:14

I hope that soon, when I am stronger I can pay my friends back, but do you know what, I bet each and every one of them will say I don’t owe them anything, because that’s what friends do. 

Don’t get me wrong, Jesus is a great friend, my best friend.  He will never leave us or forsake us 

Deuteronomy 31:6; 31:8 (NIV): The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Hebrews 13:5:  Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

But when you need a tissue and a hug, or someone to tell you your hair is a mess and your feet smell, a here-and-now person is a blessing from God. 

I thank God for all of my friends and pray that you will be blessed with good Godly friends too.

Andrew Greenhalgh and Julie Greenhalgh Upton Life Group leaders Jubilee Church Wirral

Helen O’Brien with her husband Mick

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