Friend or just “friendly”?

~ NTD

I often mistake the two ideas, interchanging them as though they were the same. I am coming to believe there is a vast difference between them.

A “friendly” person has no animosity toward another. He/she may greet with a smile, shake hands, hug, and in every way be a warm-hearted person to be around. At club meetings, at church, or in the supermarket, they are happy to see others and may spend time in interesting conversation.

Being friendly does not mean the person is a friend. Shaking hands or asking about health or life is going does not mean they are a friend.

A “friend” is one who actually does something with encouraging words, actions or followup. They actually seek to make someone’s life better by their actions.

A friendly person may greet at church, but a friend will seek to encourage or help. A friendly person may smile as you drive past their house on the way home, but a friend will seek to have contact with you. One may have dozens of friendly people greet and talk at club or church, but a person is very fortunate to have someone take time and effort to come by when you are hurting or need to have someone to listen or share life over coffee.

A step deeper

Compare the difference between “like” and “love” in the English language. We confuse and intermingle the two words. We say we love chocolate Sundaes, we love our high school, our church, our neighbors, etc. Often that means little more than we have no animosity toward anyone. It might means we get pleasure out from being around them. We “like” our sports team because they bring excitement; we like our city park because it brings us tranquility;  we like our neighbors because they don’t cause us any problems. A definition: To “like” someone or something means I get pleasure, comfort, excitement, etc. from them.  It is me-centered. I get something out of it. To “love” means I seek to comfort, encourage, give help to the other. Watch how you use these words and what meaning you put into them.

You can be friendly — or “like” someone — and do nothing to benefit them. You have nothing against them and they might bring pleasure into your life. You love someone when you seek to benefit, encourage, help them — your actions benefit them. Not having a mean bone in your body does not mean you are a loving person. Love is an intentional doing something for another’s good. Maybe it is simply using an opportunity to say an encouraging word.

One can even find such a meaning in the Biblical text that says “God so loved, that he gave …” He loved, so he gave.

It can add new meaning to the idea, “I don’t like them, but I love them.” Meaning, I don’t like their attitude, lifestyle, etc, but I will seek to bless, encourage, help them, etc.

Play these introductory thoughts in your mind. Am I just being friendly or a real friend? Do I treat people in a friendly manner, have coffee with them, etc. because they bring something to me? Or, do I seek to be a real friend and seek ways to encourage, help, add something positive to their life? Do I merely “like” people or do I “love” people?

I would suggest that if we do nothing more than smile, shake hands, or are just pleasant to all, we fall short of being a friend — and we are not loving them.

Are you a real friend to others? Do you have any real friends?

Sometimes this hard line gets slippery. Sometimes just getting up and greeting someone is an act of love and grace — and is greatly encouraging and helpful to another person. I hope it causes some to think about whether they are just being friendly or really being a loving friend.

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Three Reasons Why Men Need Community

by Chris Surratt

We all need community. In fact, we were designed by God to be in community. You can see it modeled for us with the perfect relationship of the Trinity in Genesis.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” – Genesis 1:26

And then Jesus prayed for this community with His final prayer before His death on the cross:

May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me. – John 17:21

So why do so many of us try to go it alone? We are men. That is the general answer and is what a lot of us were taught growing up. Real men can pull up the bootstraps and get ‘er done on our own. Even the appearance of leaning on someone else can make us look weak and feel like failures. I could go on and on with a long list of cultural excuses why you can’t be in community, but here are three strong reasons why you should be.

1. Being a man can be a lonely world.

Because we have been taught from birth to go it alone, we end up lonely. Even though we may have people around us all day at the office, we can still go without the life-giving community we desperately need. Your family can provide a piece of it–and our community should start there–but they can only do so much. Ultimately, we need fellow brothers in Christ to walk alongside us.

Read more: https://blog.lifeway.com/leadingmen/2018/12/11/three-reasons-why-men-need-community/?ecid=387181040&bid=308280756#.XBu-5KfMzN1

How I Learned to Embrace the Stand and Greet Time

https://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/337324-how-i-learned-to-embrace-the-stand-and-greet-time.html

You Don’t Just Need Community, You Need Friends

https://blog.lifeway.com/leadingmen/2018/10/10/you-dont-need-community-you-need-friends/

6 Ways to Engage with Your Community

We live in a time when most of us are disconnected from the communities in which we live. We don’t know our neighbors, rarely serve in our city, and the cast majority of the connections that we have there are digital. This disintegrating of community leaves people lonely and alienated, leads us to treat our neighbors with suspicion, and means that fewer people are hearing about Jesus.

For followers of Jesus, remaining isolated from the communities in which we live is not an option. We have been called by God to love our neighbors, to pray for our neighbors, and to serve our neighbors in the name of Jesus, so staying aloof and knowing no one constitutes serious disobedience to Jesus.

For those of us who grew up in communities that seemed more tightknit than our current ones, we should not spend much time bemoaning this situation, but rather we should begin mobilizing to address it. This situation offers us many opportunities to make an impact by being a friend to people, showing people hospitality, and by serving them in Jesus’ name.

If you have been distant from the community in which you live, here are six ways that you can engage with your community.

Spend Time in Your Front Yard

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/onedegreetoanother/2018/02/engage-community/

What are the Marks of Genuine Friendship?

A few years ago, our family was at the beach when a little girl ran up to my seven-year-old daughter and said, “My name is Isabella. Do you want to play?” My daughter yelled “sure” and they ran off as if they had known each other for years.

I wonder at what point we stop doing this. When do we get afraid of rejection and become suspicious of people? While our children are not sinless, their lack of cynicism is refreshing because their desire for friends reminds us that we were not created to live life alone.

God created us to be wired for friendship, yet sin has broken friendships and relationships. To return to my opening illustration, my daughter got mad at the little girl she was playing with a said she didn’t want to be her friend anymore. The little girl came over to ask if they could be friends again and my daughter responded, “well, I will give you one more chance.” (In case you are wondering, yes we had a conversation about that.)

One thing we need to realize about our friendships is that we tend to respond sinfully to being sinned against. Because of this, we can be tempted to have superficial friendships instead of real ones, to be consistently frustrated with other people, and to hide from real friendships because we are cynical about the possibility that they can exist.

What constitutes a true friendship? This is not an unspiritual question. The biblical writers devoted ample space to the subject of interpersonal relationships. For example, you cannot read through Proverbs without running across a treasure trove of wisdom for discovering and maintaining true friendships.

We can learn a lot about genuine friendship by observing the friendships throughout Scripture. In particular, the friendship between David and Jonathan shows us three truths which help us understand the nature of true friendship.

Friendship Springs from a Strong Bond

Read the rest:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/onedegreetoanother/2018/10/friendship/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Evangelical&utm_content=46

Let’s Encourage One Another

~ Ray MacDonald

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMEncouragement is very important. There are many persons in the families of our church and community who have known very little encouragement in their lives. They have been raised in families where discouragement was the focus – with very little – if any – encouragement. Families where more fuss was made over a grade of B in one class rather than the grades of A in all of the other classes. Families where the small mistake was made to be larger than the overall good job done.

Discouragement in the church is also a tool that the devil uses. Someone does a tremendous job with a program and the first thing someone says is something that didn’t go right. Worship was awesome and a person points out the one thing that didn’t go well – first. It’s almost like some think complaining is a spiritual gift or something.

It isn’t that we shouldn’t try to improve one another – we’re actually called to do that in Scripture – but rather the attitude and timing. Read Revelation where Christ instructs John to write to the seven churches. In those passages Christ always affirms where He can affirm – encourages – before He gives corrective instruction.

In today’s section of Scripture Paul is trying to give good advice to the church – some departing words of encouragement. It is worth reading again my friends – and we should take these words to heart. Here is today’s passage in partial context.

More at: https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/lets-encourage-one-another-2/