At the recent weekend with Longsight Youth Fellowship one of the passages we looked at was “Jesus Heals the Paralised man”. You know the one; Jesus is preaching in a house and the only way for the man to get to see Jesus is to be lowered through the roof by his 4 friends.
It led to a discussion on what it is that we value in our friends and I’ve been giving that some thought ever since.
There is little doubt that the paralised man got tremendous value from his friendship with his mates. He did, after all, not only get to see and hear Jesus, but also he was healed and regained his mobility (along with having his sins forgiven – a part of the story which we usually overlook!)
But what of his friends? Did they get value from their friendship? Or was the cost too high? They obviously got to see their friend healed which, I’m sure, delighted them but they probably skinned their knees, maybe ripped clothes and possibly had to pay out for a new roof! And THEIR sins weren’t forgiven and, excuse me, but THEY had done all the work!
So what is a friend? What makes a good one? We expect our friends to be faithful, kind, honest and supportive but recently I have been thinking much more about the cost of friendship rather than the value. Sometimes we have to risk our friendship for the sake of our friendship or, at least, for the sake of our friends. We sometimes need to tell them things which they don’t want to hear, to give them the brutal, honest truth and very often people don’t want to hear the truth! But a true friend, a good friend, a valuable friend, won’t shy away from saying the hard things. And a true friend won’t hold that against you.