A Friend Indeed

7:20:00 AM

(From Plug In 06/08/2017)

Good evening everyone! I hope all of you are having a great time! It’s so good to come back again this month and see all of you!

Happy Friendship day!

I was looking online for the history or the origin for this day but there’s no specific origin as such. Some say that Hallmark cards put up a day like that initially and there were many who criticized it because they thought the company was doing it just to promote their cards.

‘Friends’; how many of us can say that we have friends?

I remember this one friend of mine, he was so panicky! We all have those kinds right? They are worried about everything and anything! It was in midst of our exams and we had just finished one and getting ready to write the next one. SO we are all sitting in the canteen and going through the final things to revise (in my case, learning for the first time too!) and then all of a sudden he starts about or not if he would pass yesterday’s exam. I told him, “ Yeah you will don’t worry about it.” “Yes, but still, I don’t know if I will pass.” Was his reply and I kept reminding him and trying to encourage him that he would pass. He was so worried that he wouldn’t stop. Finally he asked me again after a few minutes (I think for the tenth time or something) “Do you really think I will pass?” I look at him, pause for a while and then with all seriousness told him, “No, man I think you won’t make it. You are going to fail.” I mean what else could I do, I was so irritated and he wasn’t letting me study. He kept quiet after that! Long story short: he failed that paper!

Friends! We can love them and hate them at the same time!

I have seen that there are different categories of friends. I have them in my life and then I am sure all of us have friends in these different categories and you’ll understand them as I go through them:

1: Surface Friendships:

It’s just on a surface level friendship. I think you all know what I mean. There’s nothing more than just hi or a bye. You know these people but they are just your hi and bye friends. You meet them in your college; you meet them here if you’ve been coming here regularly. You know some of their names, you know what they are studying for, and you might even know where they live. But they remain at the surface and go no more than a simple hi or a bye. “Hi, how are you doing?” “Great to see you, we should meet up sometime.” What really messes these people up is when you ask them when? And then they’d be like, “What when? No, bye.” Indirectly they are telling you; let’s just keep it this way. We like it like this. In other words they don’t really mean it when they say we should catch up sometime. I am sure as I’m speaking some faces are coming into your minds right now.

2: Structured Friendships:

These are friendships that we encounter continually. WE meet them at college every day. We meet them at work every day. We get together simply because there’s a reason that we are there in the same place at the same time. We are not together because of each other but because of the function that we are there. It’s structured. We do things together but nothing more than that.

3: Solid and Secure Friendships:

This is taking friendships to a whole new level. IT’s not surface level and neither is it structured. It’s built on commitment and based on unconditional love. It’s not on a convenience level but it’s based on deep commitment to each other that no matter what we will get it going. These are the kind of friends that will stick it out for you. They are close to you. They know you inside out and even though they know your good things, they also know your bad side and still want to stick with you.
This is the type of friendships that I want to focus on today. We call them close friends sometimes. These are the types of friends that we constantly want to be with. Sometimes we get so close that we call them ‘best friends’.

Now, let me ask all of us this question, how many of us can say that we have a best friend?

You see, I find it surprising because my generation did not go by without having a best friend. You ask anyone of the older generation; it is very rarely that someone would say that they did not have a best friend. There was a survey that was taken to find out among people to see how many of them had a best friend and the survey results that were posted said that 1 out of every 5 people did not have a best friend. 

The survey also went on to state that ever since the advent of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc people prefer to remain lonely and glued to their social media than ever before. What’s interesting though what I’ve found is that people want to have more friends on these social websites! 

There are people who are ready to be friends on Facebook or Instagram so that they can get more likes for their posts! I think I would like to categorize them as the Social Media Friendships. Think about this: every time you post a picture on Facebook or Instagram, do you login back just a few seconds later to find out how many likes you got on it? Every time you post a status update on Whatsapp, don’t you look to see how many people have viewed it? The more the better you feel don’t you?  It’s ironical because you want friends at the same time you don’t want friends that are close to you!

The truth is that every one of us has friends who fall into any one of those categories that I just mentioned; it’s just that we haven’t allowed many of them to get close to us. I’ve known so many people today who don’t get close to people and neither do they allow people to get close to them because of one word: Trust.

Too many people have broken trust today with people because of what they said or what they did that caused hurt and pain in the process. SO they are close to no one today so that people can’t hurt them anymore.

Here’s what I’ve found about not getting close to people. The good news is that they can’t hurt you; the bad news is that they can’t help you either. Living life, rarely does a day go by without needing to take help from other people.

How can being close to someone be helpful? They say that the wealthiest man that ever lived in this world was King Solomon. They say that not only was he the wealthiest but also the wisest man who ever lived. He wrote a book called Proverbs and there are 4 things he mentions about close friendships about why they are important and how helpful close friends can be:

1: Few friends are true friends

Proverbs 18:24, “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.”

What does that mean? These close friends are the ones who will stick with you. When we go through a crisis, they are the ones who are always going to be there with you. Someone once said that your real friends are the ones who will be with you when you are going through difficult times in your life.

2: Friends will speak the truth to you
Proverbs 27:6, “The wounds from a friend are worth it; kisses from an enemy do you in.”
Honestly, we don’t like it do we? We don’t like our friends who come and tell us the truth. But we all know that even if we don’t like it, that is what will keep us guarded and on the right track. Let me tell you this: my best friend is my wife Anu. Man, can she speak the truth! Every time I do a talk, there might be many others who come up and say that it was great and all that but when I come home, I get it straight from my wife who tells me exactly what was good and what was not. Why do I need to hear that? Because that’s what helps me to get better!

3: Friends refresh us

Proverbs 27:9, “….a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”
Isn’t that true? When we are worn out and tired and discouraged, who else but close friends who can refresh us during those times?
Let me ask this question now. How many of us want to have a best friend? How many of us would like friends like this: a friend that refreshes us, speaks the truth to us? We all want them don’t we?
But here’s the thing. It’s not about how much we want in a person as much as who we are as a person. In other words, the people around us will only be as good as close as we really are.

Many young people come to me all the time asking questions about marriage and all. They come and tell me that they have these lists and about how they are praying for the right partner. I smile right through all of it and at the end of it all I ask a simple question. You have quite a good list there, but let me ask you this question: Do you have all those qualities that you have mentioned in your list? Or if the guy or girl you are praying for, if they have a list, do you think you would fit or match up to all the qualities on their list? Often times, they stare at me surprised. It would seem like they just went to another planet when they heard that!

So when we say that we want a best friend, here’s my take: Do you have it in you to be a best friend to someone? How do you become a good friend?

1: Being the right person

It doesn’t start with the other people. It starts with me. I am not going to wait for the other person to change; I am going to see that I will. There was a marriage conference once where a renowned speaker was talking to the couples with his wife. Towards the end of the marriage conference, they opened up for Q&A and one of the ladies in the conference asked the wife of the speaker, “Does he (that is her husband pointing to the speaker) make you happy?” There was utter silence till the wife replied, “No, he does not.” There was utter surprise all over the hall. Even the speaker was looking totally surprised at his wife’s reply. Then she said, “I realized that in the first six months of my marriage that he would never make me happy. He was always doing this or that and I would get upset. It came to a point till I realized that he could never make me happy. It’s not that he wouldn’t but it’s just that he couldn’t. The only person who could make me happy was myself. The moment I realized that then my husband has added immeasurably to my happiness.” The speaker was so relieved!

What was the wife saying? You’ve to be the right person. In other words, you’ve to take the initiative to be the right one. It doesn’t start with fixing the other person; you’ve to start with yourself. Too often we wait for others to come around us and start, what would happen if we would make that start? What if I could add to someone else’s life, what if I could make someone’s life a little better?

2: Committing Time and Energy:

IT’s going to take time and we are going to have to set aside that time.

This coming December, me and Anu will be celebrating our tenth marriage anniversary. I heard this before getting married and I decided I would do what I knew to commit to that. Someone said that marriages are like a garden, if it should continue to have fresh flowers, then we must continue to tend it and water it.

Every year, I make it a point, to surprise her either on her birthday or on our anniversary. I have done some crazy stuff and some simple things but make sure do it to make it memorable. She says I never surprise her but I think I do.

Being close friends does not come in a day. It takes us to sacrifice our time and requires us to put energy or effort into making sure it blooms up over time.

3: It requires us to trust them:

I know this is probably the most difficult but this is what it takes to build a strong foundation. Someone said that trust is the foundation of all friendships. Trust is the glue that holds two people together.

If you’ve ever had friends at all, then you know what I am about to say is true. It doesn’t take long for someone to break their trust with us. A very long time ago, I had gone into a complete shell. I didn’t trust anyone. Every person I had trusted had broken it. So I didn’t want to go into that process of getting hurt again.

I read this statement off a book and I made it my life definition of trust. To me trusting people means allowing them to fail you. Trusting people means allowing them to fail you.

No one is perfect and when we realize that and we are still willing to take that initiative knowing that they might as well fail us one day gives us a better chance to trust them. They will fail us anyway, so I might as well trust them rather than risk living my life all alone.

I later realized that there was someone who did this first. He did it before me and therefore I can do it too. His name is Jesus.

Jesus took an initiative to connect and get close to us. This is what He said

John 15:13-15, “13 There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.”

No matter how many times we’ve failed, He’s still willing to trust us. He’s still willing to give us great things even though he knows that we are weak and that we can easily fail Him.

2 Corinthians 4:7, “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.”

We are fragile clay jars that can break easily. Yet He was willing to pour out Himself, His treasure into weak jars like us that can break.

Think about this: If we have lakhs or crores of money, wouldn’t we want to keep it in a place where it’s safe, a place that won’t break?

That’s how we look at people isn’t it? When we share our deepest secrets with them, we expect them not to break. But Jesus was ready to trust us because He trusted God His Father.

One thing I’ve learnt over the years is that it becomes easier to trust people knowing that we can trust in Jesus because even if people fail me, which will surely happen, I can trust Him who can never fail me. It doesn’t mean that I stop trusting people, because as much as I need Jesus, I need them as well.

Today as I close, Jesus is calling us His friends. Would we be willing to call Him our friend as well? When we can call Him friend and place our trust in Him, it becomes easier for us to trust the people He has placed around us. 

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