Learning from Biblical examples
Friendship, if chosen right, can be a great source of love, healing, joy, knowledge, mentorship, influence, companionship, partnership, motivation, encouragement etc.
There are a number of friendship relationship in the Bible that teaches us how we should relate with one another on daily basis. From Old Testament relationships to that in the New Testament epistles, we look into these examples in the Bible to gain understanding in the leading of our own relationship lives.
Some of such divine relationship as recorded in the bible includes;
Abraham and Lot
Abraham is Lot’s uncle. Terah, who is Abraham’s father and grand-father to Lot was the one who started the journey to Cannan taking Abram his son, Lot the son of Haran his late son, and Sarai his: Abram’s wife (Gen 11:31;12:4-5). After Terah died, Abram became the limelight and continued to lead the journey.
These singular act of Abraham highlights the need for continuity in relationship, not like our present day experience of old-friends-turn-bad and incessant urge for new friend. With every new environment, we tend towards a new friends surge. The friends from old environment get forgotten. The BIBLE teaches longevity of relationship as we could also see in Proverbs 27:10; ‘Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; …’
Many factors threaten our relationship. Changing circumstances like promotion, demotion, success, failure, new friends, end of a program or an assignment , marriage etc. Though relationships are with their distinct purposes; it does not mean that these relationships should go when the purposes are no more. Such purposes like school mates, colleagues, holiday acquaintances etc. The ability to keep tracks of our relationships makes us disciplined and imbued with the ability to identify with various human differences, such virtues necessary for a good interpersonal relationship.
There is a saying that some people come into your life for a season, and some for a reason. We should not confuse the two. This is not about having many friends for popularity or to being blessed with people. Quality is still more important than quantity when it comes to friendship. However, relating this to present day relationship, this highlights the importance of mutual responsibility of the parties involved in a relationship towards sustaining such relationship. This is more often a case in opposite sex relationship where the customs beliefs system assumes that the ladies has no role to play in making a relationship work. But we well know that we could all help make friendship work. Especially covenant friends; those who have come to stay.
The only problem in friendship ( I think) is the ‘marriage assumption syndrome’; relationship counselors spend most times on marriage matters forgetting that marriage is only an end, the process to it is the relationship cadres. A healthy relationship breeds a healthy marriage experience. Second problem in friendship is a lack of proper definition of our relationships: lack of proper communications and many assumptions.
If these assumption can be well communicated and ruled out, then anyone can contribute to making a friendship work. There should be people we don’t give up on (Even after marriage, there are friends that would and should still remain).
When it seems some friends are gone. The truth is sometimes we are the ones that are gone. If somebody had stayed two months without checking on you, it doesn’t mean the person is gone. Sometimes people could just need a minute reciprocity to know we also care. And some other times, anyone could be having challenging times and deserves a check from the other end.
Secondly, in the circumstances surrounding their separation (Gen 13) Abraham demonstrated ‘love for peace’ as a prerequisite for a sustained relationship including the readiness to compromise and take a given side for peace to reign. This too highlights a very important contention in present day relationship matters. And this is about understanding the purpose of a relationship and knowing what to follow after the purpose is no more; knowing that every friend have come for a purpose And some purpose can be time bound.
Thirdly, Abraham reminds us of loyalty and going above and beyond for friends. – “When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.” (NIV)(Gen 14:14-16.).
Here he displayed a love that is unconditional and a sense of responsibility for lots welfare. These are rare kind of friends who Whether you are up or down, right or wrong, they are into you. They are in it for the long haul. You get in trouble; they’ll get in trouble with you. They’ll come to see you in the jail house. They’ll come get you out of the crack house. You can open up and share anything with them.
we can learn A BETTER ETIQUETTE FOR CHRISTAIN RELATIONSHIP from these very acts of Father Abraham:
- God places people in our path and us in theirs so that we might be a blessing to each others.
- The purpose in building friendship should be to encourage, lift up, correct and help build the character of each other and to do all we can to assist them in achieving their dreams.
- We don’t meet people by accident, they are meant to cross our paths for a reason.
- Instead of falling in love with our friends, we should walk in love. Walking in love is much deeper than taking long strolls on the beach or holding-hand through the mall. Its about sacrificial commitments!
- In the principles of forgiveness, this teaches us generally to esteem what binds us together than what wants us separated; including separation by time and distance.
This are virtues we can pray for and when they are impacted into our heart by the spirit, we take an eminent positions in one another’s life.
Be the Abraham!
Make it work!