Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Lifelong Friend?

5 Elements of Lasting Friendships-2

I walked nervously to her front door. Years had passed.

The last time I saw Valerie her son was reading mid-grade fiction. Now he’s learning to fly airplanes.

Where did the time go? Different seasons led our families in different directions.

Friendships can lurch to a sudden stop, but so often friendships slowly drift apart.

When we reconnected with Valerie over dinner, conversation picked up almost where it left off, and so did the laughter.

It got me thinking about the kinds of friends we carry with us through life. The ones we don’t let go of–the ones who won’t let go of us.

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Following Jesus means sticking by our friends throughout the roller-coaster ride of parenting. It means supporting each other in every season of marriage.

As our lives speed up, let’s not let the quality of our friendships diminish. Let’s not let our consumerist culture seep into the fabric of our friendship.

Real community isn’t plastic, and relationships are never disposable.

I grew up before “globalization” became a buzzword, when dial-up was still a thing. Friendship required real, face-to-face interaction, and unfriending someone required more than a keystroke.

When disagreeing we tread lightly because we knew the same people would be on our lives in a year or decade later.

  1. Enduring friendships give each other the benefit of the doubt.

In the last 20 years the friendship landscape has drastically changed. We are slow to ask questions, quick to judge, and we hand out advice in lightning speed.

A quick glance of Facebook proves just how arrogant and condescending our culture has grown. We’ve forgotten how to mind our manners and play nice.

We’ve forgotten the essential ingredients of enduring friendship–tolerance and respect. When did we become so impassioned by our own opinions that we discount everyone else’s?

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I’m just susceptible to the chip on my shoulder as the next. I hate to admit that I’ve caught myself feeling superior to friends and neighbors in the way I parent or teach my kids.

2. Enduring friendships require humility. Let’s face it, no one wants to be friends with a self-righteous know-it-all.

I know this one from experience. Thankfully, I had friends that forgave me. That’s what lasting friendships take, isn’t it?

3. Lasting friendship requires forgiveness.

Recently I’ve heard my friends bemoan our “multi-level marketing culture,” the  kind of transactional friendship that makes us all cringe.

Folks, let’s stop being like this. Let’s stop giving to get. That’s creepy. Instead seek to give, build up, and encourage. 

Enduring friendships weather life’s seasons with grace and acceptance. Time slips away, but let’s not let our friends.

Be the friend that reaches out. Host a dinner party and catch up with old friends that have drifted. Bridge the gap time creates.

I’m so glad my friend Valerie reached out to me. The day I stepped onto her front porch with a salad in hand, conversation and friendship resumed as if it had never stopped.

And for her son who has grown taller than me. I’ll cheer for him when he makes it into the Air Force Academy. Hopefully I’ll be there to hug his parents that he gets married.

Ultimately that’s what lifelong friendship is all about, marking the major events.

4. Lifelong friendship bears witness to life’s milestones. It acknowledges life’s big and small accomplishments. It’s a hundred tiny gestures compounded over time.

Don’t underestimate the small gesture of friendship. It’s in these small acts of love that a greater love story unfolds, a story grace, love, and acceptance.

Lasting friendships echo a greater love. They reveal to us the One who is Love.

“A friend loves at all times,” Proverbs 17:17.

**I’d love to hear from YOU! Do you have lifelong friends> What are some of secrets of lasting friendship that you’ve experienced?

 

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