Monday, February 16, 2009

AT THE WELL...friend or family?

My friends and I are gathering around the WELL once again. And this week we are discussing one of my favorite subjects ...Friendship. Not just any friendship but friendship in our Families.

The discussion questions are:

What is your definition of friendship?

Did you follow the belief that we should not be friends with our children?

In what ways can we befriend our husbands and children?

"A friend - the one who comes in when the world goes out". - UNKNOWN

When I think of a true friend...I think of someone special who loves me, who I can put my trust in, someone who is faithful and someone that I enjoy being with. Certainly, a true friend is much like the above quote ... one who sticks around when nobody else does.

The Bible has alot to say about friendship, in fact the word "friend" is found more than 90 times in the Bible. Here is how a friend is described in God's Word:

~must show themselves to be friendly (Prov. 18:24)
~is better than being alone (Eccl. 4:9)
~ will stand by, even in times of trouble (Prov. 17:17)
~will bring trouble if I confide in the wrong friend (Prov. 25:19)
~at times leaves us to desire something else (Prov. 22:24)
~will tell us when we are wrong (Prov. 27:6)
~must be cherished (Prov. 27:10)

Some of these biblical, friendly attributes can be found in biblical friendships. Look at Ruth and Naomi, they were friends (Ruth 1:6-18); and David and Jonathan were also friends (1 Samuel 18:1-4); Elisha and Elijah also were friends (2 Kings 2:1-3) and Mary and Elizabeth were noted to be good friends (Luke 1:39-45).

The greatest example of true friendship can be found in Jesus Christ. He is the only begotten Son of God, full of grace and full of truth and full of love. Yet, He extends to us His friendship.

"Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." John 15:14

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

JESUS IS THE ULTIMATE FRIEND. Jesus gave His life for those He called "Friend". I cannot think of too many people that I would be willing to give my life for. I have alot of good friends. Friends since childhood that I love dearly. Friends that I work with that I love dearly. Friends that make me laugh - I love them dearly. But I am not sure if I would be willing to lay my life down for them!

There are a few people in my life that I would most DEFINETLY die for. And this brings me to the other two questions posed before us today. Friend or family? Can we be friends with those closest to us?... our family? Our children?

As a young parent, many make the tragic mistake of trying to be a "best friend" to our children instead of taking our role of godly parents seriously. We have been given the charge from God to "train up a child so he will not depart from it". This is a very tall feat, and sometimes to train or to equip our sons and daughters we may need to say "no" or go against what may seem popular. This is especially true in the younger, forming years of our children's lives.

In today's world, it seems like some children rule over parents. Children have a way to manipulate to get what they want. Parents make decisions based on how it will make our kids feel. God did not call us to be "cool" parents. Our children are on loan from God love, nurture, teach and model Christ before them. We will be held accountable one day for the things we did and for the things we did not do in their raising. To the other extreme, some parents take this "job" of parenting as a license to manipulate, mistreat and exasperate. In the book of proverbs, it says "do not provoke your children."

Though it appears it may be difficult to be your child's best friend, especially in the youthful years, I believe that we, as parents, need to take on the godly "friend" attributes as listed above.

It can take years to prove yourself as a trustworthy friend. One who loves unconditionally, one who is not afraid to correct, one who has proven to be trustworthy. As a mother, I have tried to take on the godly "friend" attributes during the forming years of my children's lives. Now that my children are grown - I can honestly say that we are good friends.

We are good friends because we have learned over the years that we can trust our love for one another. We have learned over the years that our love does not grow weary for one another. We have also learned over the years that no matter what ... we can count on one another.

Have you ever heard the saying ... "you can choose your friends but not your family"

This is so true, that is why many times in our family relationships we have strife, heartache and pain. We can't just change our family relationships like we change friendships. But within our family relationships, I believe the attribute of a "true friend" should be present.

So if you ask me if I can be a friend to my family? ... then I would have to say "YES" I can and should be a friend to my family. After all - God, my heavenly Father, desires for me to be His friend - like the song sings ....

"I am a friend of God, I am a friend of God and He calls me friend"

who are you willing to lay your life down for?

Would you like to join our discussion today about friendships in our families? Please go to the homepage of AT THE WELL and view all of the chatter as we gather around the well today! If you would like to link your post on this topic, GO HERE!


Beth in NC said...

Very sweet Laurie. I am thinking that perhaps I am way too confessional (lol). You are the 2nd "at the well" post I've read and both of you had very sweet, positive posts. Mine, not so much ... hmmm.

Bless you friend!

Chris said...

great post! thanks for sharing your heart and your thoughts :D

Mary Beth said...

I love these Friend questions. And I love your insight. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Laurie, well said!
There are many young parents that think being their children's
"friends" means to bend over backwards to please their children and not ever be firm by doing what is best for them. What they are doing is enabling them to disobey.
You are right in saying we are show them how to be a godly friend.
I like your blog and glad to meet you.

Laurie Ann said...

Laurie, great post! Especially the part about Jesus. He is our greatest example! Much to be gleaned in this post. Thanks for sharing your heart!

Rebecca said...

"We are good friends because we have learned over the years that we can trust our love for one another." That is my hope for my children, that they know my love for them is secure. Coming from a home where love was conditional and often absent, I know the gift it would be to them.

Amy Bayliss said...

You have spoken so much truth here. So many confuse friendship with being a peer. When parents and children enter into that type of relationship it is doomed to fail. Yet, like you so wisely spoke, when we become the Godly friend to them then it is blessed and prospers. He is so good isn't He?