How many friends do you have? I mean real friends, not acquaintances. There is a difference between the two. So how do we describe a real friend?
1. Loyal: the idea is that no matter what happens, this person will stay by your side.
2. Loving: this person will spend time with you and will express their feelings to you and will want a relationship with you.
3. Trustworthy: A friend will cover my mistakes and not talk about it. They will never turn on us.
4. Helpful: If we need a hand, they are there to help.
How does Jesus square up to the list? Is He my friend?
1. Loyal – Yes, no matter what I have said or done, He remains by my side and has never left me.
2. Loving – He laid down His life for me, how much more loving can you be? He shows me His heart through His words and in His body, the Church.
3. Trustworthy – Yes, He has proven worthy of my trust. I have tested Him many times with my foolishness, but He remained true. What He says, I can take to the bank.
4. Helpful – Yes, I’ve been through some rough times, and His love saved me. I know that sometimes the best help He can give me is to say no.
Now, let’s turn it around. Am I a friend to Jesus?
It’s an important question, because a theologian once wrote that a saint is nothing more or less than a friend of God. That’s a simple definition. Well, I feel like I am a friend. Let me test it.
1. Loyal? Oh dear – sometimes yes, sometimes no. I think in a general way, I’m loyal. But then there are times…you know the way Israel used to be in the OT.
2. Loving- yes, of course I love God. Well, to be honest, it’s more a fondness really. After all, Jesus measured our love when He said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” So I show the quality of my love by what I do, not by how I feel. I feel a lot, but I don’t “do” very well.
Here’s an example. A man wanted to show his wife how much he loved her. So after dinner he began to recite romantic poetry. After listening for a while, she asked, “Yes, but will you pick up your socks?”
Friendship is not just quality, it is quantity as well. Suppose on my wedding day, at the end of the service, I told my bride that I would see her only on Sundays for an hour or two. I think I would be single now. We love to spend time with real friends. How much time do I spend with Jesus? Oh dear.
3. Trustworthy – I know Jesus is worthy of my trust, but am I worthy of His trust? I mean how many times have I promised Him something and then failed to do it. I’m not very trustworthy at all.
4. Helpful – Well, I have helped Jesus at times, taking care of someone, or working in the Church, or helping at a charity, and so on. But I must admit that I really believe Ben Franklin more than Jesus Christ –God helps those who help themselves. I really do spend more time helping myself, than helping Jesus.
So, maybe I’m more of an acquaintance of Jesus, than a true friend. I know a lot about Him, and I have a fondness for Him. I’m in love with the idea of Jesus, but a true friend I am not.
Maybe we can “do lunch.”