Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Being a Godly Christian Friend Only in Tragedies

Random Thought of Conviction 

Off the cuff posts are beginning to be the only posts that I write. I love when the LORD illuminates an idea to my mind, or my wife's mind, and it can be quickly put down into a blog post. This post was not written immediately after the fact; it came to us last night. But I believe it is fresh enough on my mind to elaborate on right now.

Think of this scenario. It happens all the time. There is an individual or a family (for the sake of the article, we will give the generic name to this individual or family, "Unloved Christian"), and they have a few acquaintances (I am using that word for a very specific purpose). They do not have a friend, though they refer to their acquaintances as "friends" because that is the common lingo.

Unloved Christian does not have much interaction with his 'friends". His friends are not much interested in getting to know him intimately. They just don't have time to get together often. There is not daily encouragement; we Americans have too busy of lives to follow Hebrews 3:13.

Friends Are There For You in Time of Need

One day, a tragedy strikes. Unloved Christian finds he has a disease. Or maybe his house caught on fire and he lost everything. Or maybe an immediate family member dies. Whatever the scenario, it is a terrible one. All of a sudden, those "friends" who were too busy to get involved in Unloved Christian's life, they all come rushing in like a flood to help. They send gifts, they send cards, they send food, they call and offer encouragement. They are there for you like a real friend, any time of the day or night.

What is wrong with this picture, you ask? Nothing. Not a thing. Actually, this is exactly the way a Christian community should respond. So why am I critical of it? Because the friendship extended to Unloved Christian is only and solely when tragedy strikes. When the crisis has passed, these "friends" slowly disappear back into the woodwork to live their own lives. When Unloved Christian needed a daily encourager, there was no one there. When he needed a true friend to lift his spirits, and worship and fellowship with him on a consistent basis, everyone was too busy.

The situation I describe here is why I refer to such relationships as being "acquaintances". It is not much different than a business relationship. The guys you see at work but not away from work are not friends. You just see them Monday through Friday while you work. The same goes with the folks you go to church with. Only you see them on Sunday and Wednesday at the most. Or maybe once every 2 months you go have supper at their house or vice versa. That is not friendship. That is not community.

Doug Tanner: Friends

The Root Problem

I have come to a conclusion in my mind that this is done on purpose. I do not think it is maliciously planned when I say that. But on the subconscious level, people just do not consider daily fellowship a priority. The book of Acts describes the early church in this manner:

"And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." -- Acts 2:46,47

If we really took the scriptures serious, and wanted to obey Hebrews 13:3, we would find a way to stay connected... connected on a consistent basis. And we would build true friendships, the way they used to be in the old days. I know that we all don't live close to one another and have the physical communities we used to have (and I realize that is what we truly need). But we have so much technology where we can at least overcome this to a certain degree.

Those of us who attended either public or private school can attest to the fact that we all had a childhood best friend. Do you remember how close you were to your best friend when you were in your school days? Why is that so difficult to come by today? It shouldn't be. The only difference is, families should have that kind of closeness with other families.

A true friendship will be demonstrated in a way that either side can say anything to one another bluntly, and the other party will not get offended and break off contact with you. This is what our family longs for; but it seems not many are willing to go this route and sacrifice for the sake of others, and ultimately for the sake of Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ is in a very sad state, indeed. Let us do what we can to reverse this trend, and thereby glorify Christ on a daily basis. Your Christian brothers and sisters need you a lot more than you realize, on a daily basis. And they need  you in "regular" times more than they need you in times of tragedy.

Swiss Kinist