Monday, July 28, 2008

Friendships Part 3

We've been looking at some of the characteristics of Jesus' friends according to the New Testament. Today we'll finish up by looking at one more friend.

Let's take a look at Thomas.

John 11:16 Thomas (called the Twin) said to his fellow disciples, "Let us all go along with the Teacher, so that we may die with him!"

This sounds like a very loyal friend. He was actually willing to go with Jesus even if it meant dying with Him. We all need friends like this! Let's see if there's anything more about Thomas:

John 20:25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" Thomas said to them, "Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe."

Unbelief! This is where the phrase, doubting Thomas, came from. So how did Jesus handle this situation:

John 20:27 Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then reach out your hand and put it in my side. Stop your doubting, and believe!"

Jesus gave Thomas the proof he needed in order to believe. We need to remember to be encouraging to our friends when they are going through times of unbelief in their lives. There was a time when I struggled with unbelief. Thankfully, I had encouraging friends, like Chatty Kelly, who came alongside me to lift me up!

Here is an important group of verses that can help us learn to be better friends ourselves:

John 13:12-15 After Jesus had washed their feet, he put his outer garment back on and returned to his place at the table. "Do you understand what I have just done to you?" he asked. "You call me Teacher and Lord, and it is right that you do so, because that is what I am. I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet. You, then, should wash one another's feet. I have set an example for you, so that you will do just what I have done for you.

John 13:34 And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

What a powerful example of Love Jesus has left us with. No matter how our friends might treat us, we are to show them unconditional love. Encouraging them, and even cleaning their feet - a servant kind of love.

I hope this leaves you looking at your friendships and examining your own hearts to see if you are showing the kind of love Jesus commanded us to.

I'd love to hear if you've had to encourage one of your friends in a time when they were doubting, or maybe you were the friend in need. Please share with us so we can all learn from your experiences. Thanks for stopping by today!


Chatty Kelly said...

I am so blessed with encouraging friends! One of the sweetest letters I have is from you - and was so special I had a watercolor print made from it, with the letter written in caligraphy on top. It hangs in my bedroom.

Sue J is an encourager through small gifts, usually baked goods or a starbucks coffee. She also writes encouraging notes.

Patterson 5 is also a letter writer, sending me sweet notes of encouragement often.

My sister, ADHD, and I tend to encourage through shared experiences, we've both experienced the same child hood sadness and prop each other up from that.

I try to encourage through laughter (if appropriate). But I can also be there with a hug & tears when the time is such as that.

Finally, on friendship I've heard - Be a Barnabus, Pursue a Paul, Train a Timothy. (In other words: encourage, be mentored by others wiser, and mentor those behind you).

Pinkshoelady said...

Hi Sonya,
I would like to tell you about my friend Paula. We met our 1st year in seminary and became fast friends right away.
There are countless times when she has called just wthe moment I needed her. She has stood by me and been a councilor and advisor. She has even once popped me hard on the bottom for saying something that her spirit knew was contrary to God's Word. We still laugh about that one but it was just the opo in the pants I needed to fight off that lie of the enemy.
But the sweetest, most God honored and sacrificing time was when we were in seminary and my Granny died. I was devestated. Paula took control. She put me in the shower, packed my clothes, and then drove me the nine hour drive home. Only to sleep a coulple hours and drive back. Now that is a true friend!

Thanks for allowing me to brag on such a wonderful, and Godly woman.

My ADHD Me said...

Thanks for todays post. My 17 yr old son has been going thru some Doubting Thomas times over the last year. We've talked about it a lot and he is very open with me (which is a blessing itself, from what I hear from others with 17 yr old boys). I just adore him and am terrified that his doubts will cause him to lose faith. Perhaps you could say a prayer for him?

Sue J said...

First, Sonya, thanks for this series. This is been a very good look into the characters of some "friends," and it's so good for us to see that Jesus' friends were not perfect! He didn't call them to be perfect. He said, "You are my friends if you do what I command." (John 15:14) Jesus was establishing what the relationship was about (obedience with the great reward of the Father's love). We are limited in that relationship--as the disciples were--only by our own sinfulness. And God's grace covers a lot!

My study Bible has a great note on this that talks about Abraham, who was called "friend of God" in the OT. It says that because of our friendship with God we "are privileged with extraordinary revelation through the Messiah and Son of God." I think that special insight truly allows me to be friends and show God's love.

Thank you for the great and varied examples and for illuminating God's truth for us!

Rebecca Ingram Powell said...

I love what Kelly said about be a Barnabus, pursue a Paul, train a Timothy! That's good stuff!

The older I get, the more I am grateful for the friends I have, by the Grace of God, held on to from my youth--I have a dear friend from college who means the world to me, and then a gal who mentored me through my first year of motherhood who I have kept up with over the many years and moves that have come between us!