The key to long friendships is a short memory, says humorist Michael Hodgin.
It’s easy to be a friend to someone who likes and respects you. Have you ever considered being a friend to someone who can’t give you anything in return? Or, what about the person whose mere presence gives you a headache?
Now consider how amazing it is when the Bible records that a perfect God considers some people to be his friends. I asked my friends who they thought was God’s best friend.
Erica, 10, nominates Moses because he “led the Israelites out from under Pharaoh.” Jesse, 11, also likes Moses because “he believed in God. He would do anything for God.”
“God’s friend is Moses because he was a sweet man,” says Katherine, 7. Sweet? The man whom God used to part the Red Sea? Try “meek,” which is even more remarkable. The Bible describes Moses as “the meekest man on the earth” (Numbers 12:3).
Then there’s Noah because he “told the truth,” “built a boat” and “obeyed God,” say three 7-year-olds, Carson, Halle and Josh.
Consider the angel Gabriel, says Kelly, 7, “because God used Gabriel to tell Mary that she was going to have a baby that would be God’s son.”
Dominique, 7, says, “God’s best friend is every buddy that he made.”
“I think he likes everyone the same, but me a smidgen more,” says Perry, 11.
I’m not sure about God’s loving Perry a “smidgen more,” but I know God loves everybody because John 3:16 makes this clear: “For God so loved the world [every buddy] that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
“God has everyone as his best friends,” says Julianne, 12. “Why would one person he made be more important than another? He didn’t die on the cross for one person. He died for everyone.”
Yes, in this sense, everyone is God’s friend. Jesus was even the friend of the man who betrayed him. When Judas came with soldiers to arrest him, Jesus greeted the traitor with “Friend, why have you come?
Jesus’ friendship with Judas was gracious. Most of us think of friendship as shared respect, trust and values. Jesus knew Judas would betray him, yet he called him “friend.”
This kind of friendship is called grace, or better yet amazing grace. It’s a love-your- enemy grace that causes people to scratch their heads in wonder. It’s a total departure from the ungrace that characterizes the fallen world in which we live. The idea of being gracious to a person whose betrayal would lead to your death is unimaginable to most of us.
“God’s best friend is maybe every person who tries to get close to him because then if they are close, then they will be his friend,” says Allie, 10. “Obviously, it is his children who spend time with him nearly every day,” adds Phillip, 12.
Jesus had a group of 12 disciples he spent time with every day. On the night before he was betrayed and executed, Jesus said he would now call them friends “for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).
Think about this: As the friend of sinners, Jesus laid down his life so that we might become friends of God.
Memorize this truth: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Ask this question: Are you a friend of God?
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Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
COPYRIGHT 2013 CAREY KINSOLVING