The Trumpet Sounds: ‘Friends’

By Barry Pettit - Religion Writer

Friends… We hear a lot about that word in our society today. In the past years “adding” a friend on social media has almost become a competition to see who has the most “friends” on their account. We all need friends, but studies show that few Americans understand the basics about forming quality friendships. A true friend is someone whom we enjoy mutual affection, interests and respect for. The best friends are those who show up to help us in times of trouble. Those who are our advocates when we find ourselves in need are the kind of friends that are worth their weight in gold. Solomon once wrote, “A brother is born for times of adversity, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother – that is God our closest companion.” When it comes to the subject of “friends” the word of God is rich with information.

What image comes to your mind when you hear that word? A sitcom maybe? A song? A certain group of people that you have had in your life for years? Or the lack of people you have in your life? Someone once defined friendship by saying a fried is “Someone that will stand by you, no matter what. They will help you with your problems and give you the advice you need, even if it isn’t what you want to hear. They will put you first and make time for you when you need them. They will always have your back when you need it but won’t hesitate to tell you when you’re wrong. No matter how long you are apart you can pick up right where you left off with them.”

As I said earlier, we live in a culture of social media where it is about likes from our friends that we have added on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram. Did you know that there is actually a chemical reaction that happens in our minds when we get a “LIKE.” The average person has 338 friends on Facebook and spends at least two-and-a-half hours a day on social media. However, studies also show that they only talk to just four to five of their friends for support per day! The majority of adults has anywhere between two and five close friends (62%), but one in five regularly or often feels lonely. Those who report the highest levels of loneliness are single, male, young and likely earning a lower income. Those who aren’t working, or those who work remotely or for themselves, are likely making fewer friends because (42%) of people meets their friends on the job. Outside of their place of employment, American adults meet their closest friends through other friends (35%) and in their neighborhood (29)%. I found it odd that in our culture that the church is not even in the TOP 5! (Barna Research)

You may have many ideas about how friendship is supposed to look like and how it is supposed to work. I think all of us approach all of our relationships with our own expectations. Some of those expectations are healthy, and some are not healthy at all. There are so many benefits of real friendship that I’m not even going to begin to try to cover them in this article. However, I encourage you to do a search of the word “friend” in the Bible and begin your own journey of study about friendship. Being a friend isn’t always easy. As a matter of fact, a friend who really loves you will wound you if it’s necessary. That is, he will tell you the truth and won’t give you hypocritical kisses when he needs to do a little spiritual surgery on you. Flattery is not true friendship. A true friend cares enough to confront. I’m so grateful that throughout my life I’ve had those who would put their arms around my shoulders and help me when I’ve done wrong.

I short, truly believe the best way to develop long lasting meaningful relationships is to develop them according to what God has to say in his word. This Sunday at South Side we will further unpack “real friends” that only God can give us. This Sunday is “Bring A Friend Day” so be sure to bring a friend! Come early, and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee and snack at Café Connect. We now offer two “new” worship times that begin at 8:30 & 10:45. We hope to see you there!

In Christ,

Barry Pettit

Lead Pastor

South Side Church of Christ

By Barry Pettit

Religion Writer