During the month of February, my pastor did a teaching entitled “REALationships.” In it, he quoted Proverbs 17:17, and it is from this premise that I’m writing this blog post. Before I get into what’s on my mind and heart, let me give this disclaimer – this is my blog, my space of expression. The tag line is “writing when there’s something to say” for a reason. Life happened and I didn’t have anything to say about anything for a while. Nothing was flowing and no new ideas were springing forth. Words can’t roll out of a clouded mind – at least not for me, so I’ve been silent. However, during this written silence, I sat under this teaching and my mind started to get clearer on this idea. So here goes…
As I’ve gotten older, I have come to realize that we throw around the word friend like loose change. It has no meaning to some. During the “REALationships” series, pastor said a lot of what I’ve been thinking and have had conversations with real friends about. You can’t have friend degrees and categories. You do for this one but that one is kinda ok; this one you’ve known forever but that one you’re still feeling out; this one I can tell stuff to and that one not too much. On it goes. The truth of the matter is whoever you’re crowning in the friend court is really just an associate or acquaintance; colleague or neighbor; basically – someone you know of but not someone you’d “loveth at all times” because that would make them a friend when in fact, that’s not what they are to you nor you to them. Let’s be real.
Even if you have been the Proverbs 17:17 kind of friend to someone, you may have missed the memo that that’s definitely not what they are to you. Case and point, when the “friend” calls you or texts with a request, no matter what the request is, a Proverbs 17:17 friend will drop everything to meet the need. When the reverse takes place, you have to check your phone to see if you put it on mute because there’s no ring, no ding. Did the battery die by chance? When life hits you hard and all you need is a listening ear, the “friend” rejects to voicemail, yet you will awake from your sleep at 3am to listen through their tears and cries for understanding. If your car breaks down, I pray you have enough strength to push because the “friend” won’t even call AAA for you because they will miss your call or simply ignore it. Get the picture? Yes, you missed the memo.
One thing that I believe strongly is if I call you friend, that’s exactly what you are. However, it’s very hurtful when you do all you can for them and your thank you is their “busy”ness. You support them in every way you can, and when you need just a pinch of the same support, they’re silent and nowhere to be found. It doesn’t matter to me if I met you two months ago or twenty years ago. I don’t pick and choose with my loyalty. It’s a very important quality – loyalty, and when it’s abused or unappreciated, it dissolves. No, I won’t be petty and blast you all over social media or verbally to mutual friends, but what I will do is nothing – meaning, I have nothing for you; bye; it’s been real.
We must be ever so careful who we deem friend. Your true Proverbs 17:17 friends are few and far between. Pray for discernment because folk will try to squeeze the blood out your friendship turnip and before you know it, you’re dry and they’re all filled up with your free flowing goodness. A REALationship in the form of friendship isn’t always one where you talk every day or hang out all the time, but as the scripture says, it “loveth at all times and born for adversity.” I take that to mean no matter what, love abides in a true friend. In good or bad times, up and down times, celebrations and corrections – love abides in a true friend. Tears and fears, distance and time, hype and hoopla – love abides in a true friend. We can’t place high expectations on others based on our personal character traits. Not everyone has your heart. Not everyone is going to give back the same level of loyalty you give them. Such is life. Watch the actions of others, not the speech.