The most important part of undertaking any type of friendship is re-arranging the understanding about what a friend is.
A friend is something you must BE.
It is not something to have, collect, use, or control. People who are kind and loving do not own, collect, use, or control other people. That is not friendship; it is manipulation. A person is not something to collect. We do not have friends, do not own friends. We BE friends.
Given that, we should learn how to befriend. We should care about being a good friend, not collecting friends. So we study the Best Friend we can find and we learn how His words lead us into all truth, even about our earthly friendships.
And His Word tells us and shows us there are five levels of acquaintance, of friendship.
The most distant acquaintance is the person you recognize from the newsstand or the grocery checkout. You do not know his life or how to be what he needs, but you always smile and wave, acknowledging that fragile link of recognition, of knowing we both don’t even know each other’s name.
The Old Testament ancient Hebrew used words like rea and raa (Proverbs 19:6) to indicate this type of person you might see occasionally, might make a show of friendliness to. In the New Testament, the old Greek words were hoi par autou, (Mark 3:21) for those who just happen to be with you.
Although you might not know this person’s needs, you can reach out to him. The best way to “befriend” such a person, obviously, is to get to know him more. A simple question about place of origin, number of children, or hobbies, in the right context, will add a few almost invisible layers to your acquaintance with this person.
Your continued interest will tell him someone cares, which is such a life-giving thought.
And haven’t we all been there.
11 thoughts on “To Be a Friend or NOT to Be . . .”
Oh, thank you for this post. It seems that this might be the first of a few more like this? I don’t think that I’ve ever thought of COLLECTING friends. Ha. But this is a great point.
Reminds me of a verse. Proverbs 18:24. A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Oh, I do know what you mean about not thinking of collecting or owning friends. But you hear folks saying it all the time: I have a friend; I tried to make him my friend; or EVEN I have a guy who . . . I know they do not think they are saying that they OWN a person, but if you examine their motives closely, they may be saying it right, unknowingly. I think the Proverb refers to someone who already has been befriended by someone; it’s only sensible that he must return the favor and befriend, in return. And, yes, I hope for at least three more posts, to end on the 16th, when we will discuss the closest Friend more in depth. We shall see! Thanks, so much, for this encouraging comment! 😉
so well said….loved Proverbs 18:24 especially..thanks for your post.
And I thank YOU for your kind words. Kind words are one important way of drawing closer to distant friends. 🙂
I like the idea of being a friend rather than having a friend. But it is nice that being a friend does generally result in having one too!
Oh, yes! One hand washes the other, they say, but it’s all about purpose. If by trying to be a friend, I end with someone who will befriend me in return, I am double blessed. However, that first blessing is more pure and selfless . . .
WONDERFUL!! Thank you for sharing and encouraging me to visit here. enjoyed your comments on my blog laramikkelsen.blogspot.com and my post about friending and unfriending http://laramikkelsen.blogspot.com/2012/03/unearthing-draft.html
Would love to read more on this topic from you.
Thanks for these kind words, Lara, and welcome to Home’s Cool!
I am so glad this blessed you. There is more, as you wished, as this post is the first of five. Scroll to the bottom of this page and notice the link to the next post, entitled “To Befriend or Not to Befriend”. It is part two and each following part can be found the same way, linked, at the bottom of the page.
Hopy you enjoy it all!