Day 5: The Perfect Friend - The Good News Neighbor
Day 5: The Perfect Friend
“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” (Proverbs 17:17, NLT)
The average person today meets as many people in one year as our grandparents did in a lifetime. Being in proximity to someone is not the same as being close to someone. We’re wired but disconnected from each other. You can Google someone and learn all about them, but that doesn’t mean you know them.
Almost nobody is alone today. But many people are lonely. Self-isolation is dangerous. Going without food and water can kill the body. Going without relationships can destroy the mind and spirit. We need friends! You need friends.
Everything good ultimately comes from God, including friendship. Jesus is the perfect example of friendship and the perfect friend. Read what Jesus says in Luke’s gospel.
“The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!” (Luke 7:34, NLT)
Jesus is responding to the Pharisees, who were agitated with his circle of friends. Who are Jesus’ friends? Sinners! We don’t have to choose between King Jesus and Friend Jesus. He’s both! Jesus is King and able to defeat our sin. Jesus is our Friend, remaining with us through the highs and lows.
Jesus draws near in our suffering. Jesus picks us up in our stumbling. Jesus tugs us when wandering. And he will smack some sense into you when you’re sinning. Even though Jesus was a friend of sinners, it does not mean he condoned their sins.
When the Pharisees and scribes complain about Jesus befriending sinners, he clarifies why. Jesus was their friend because he wanted them to be saved. You should befriend people not to participate in their bad behavior but rather to participate in sharing God’s love and Good News with them.
Consider today’s verse. We have hundreds of interactions with people every week. Most people are in your life because they are useful to you. Before you push back, this reality is not necessarily a bad thing. We must be useful to each other for society to work. The crossing guard at the school helps the kids across the street. The barista makes you a good cup of coffee. These relationships are not true friendships but are necessary for us to function. A true friend is there even when you are at your most useless point.
A true friend protects you, your time, your reputation, and your family. A true friend will default to believing you when there is a question of integrity. You can be truthful but not trustworthy. Plenty of people tell the truth, but I wouldn’t necessarily trust them. A true friend is both truthful and trustworthy.
The only way we can be a true friend for someone is to believe in the Perfect Friend. Jesus will never fail you as a friend. Believe in his friendship, and you will be a better friend to others.