So, one of the new topics for my blog will be common words and concepts used in American english, for which I wish to challenge people to think about a little deeper (or to go over things that really irk me for some reason – cause hey! it’s MY blog *heh*). One of my personal peeves in communicating with a variety of people, is the lack of attention and basic understanding that the meanings of common words are not always universal. I won’t even bother to start on the subject of the horrifically poor the spelling skills of the general populace….
So this category of blog entries will cover things for which I want you to stop and think a little – I know, I know…who really wants to bother *thinking* before they speak? Well, hopefully YOU do 🙂
So let’s start off with one of the words that carries a particularly special significance to me:
For instance, if I say the word “friend” – what comes to you mind? Do you think of a specific person or group of people? If you think of more than one person, do different “levels” of friendship come to mind (“Best” friend vs. “Good” friend vs “Casual” friend)? Do you think of a recent event, where you spent time with some “friends”?
Let me ask another question: What would you do for someone you call friend? Would you bail them out of trouble? Give them financial help? Be there for them at 3am, when they need a listening ear?
A friend is one to whom we may pour out the contents of our hearts, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.
Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of friends. I say this, not to evoke feelings of sympathy, but as a supporting fact when I say that real friends are truly important to me. My first ‘best’ friend is STILL one of my best friends, to this day! So when I call someone a “friend”, it’s not a label which I apply lightly. Why not?
Because this word carries not just a meaning, but responsibility. The meaning is that the person in question is one whom I place trust and weight on their opinions. The responsibility I have is that I must be willing to provide that same level of trust and honest opinion in return.
A question you should ask yourself is this: What would you do, or not do, if a friend asked for you to do something?
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
John 15:13 (NASB)
Jesus Christ showed us the perfect example of being a true friend. He saw the desperate need of those He loved and willingly gave up the most precious thing He had (His life) for those (us) He called friends. Would you be willing to give up your life for someone you call friend? Under what circumstances would you be willing to make that sacrifice? And if you call someone a “friend”, but would not be willing to give your life for theirs – then what *would* you be willing to give up for their sake and need? Comfort? Sleep? Money? Time? Attention?
Now, I’m not saying that you should give up everything for the whim of a friend, or to bail someone out of any given problem situation – God did call us to be careful and faithful stewards of what He has given to us (including, obviously, our lives). But the next time you call someone or describe someone as “friend”, take the time to carefully consider what you mean by that – and if you’re really willing to back up that claim…