How many friends do you have? I suppose your answer to that question depends on your definition of the word friend. In our day, when so many of us are lonely and craving friendship, we slap the word friend on anyone who isn’t our enemy and pray our loneliness goes away.
But I’m guessing you’ve figured out that it takes more than two clicks and a vague digital connection to fill the friendship space in your heart. What you crave is someone who is there for you, real with you, supportive of you, and makes your days better. I’m guessing you want a true friend, a preferred companion, to steal the dictionary’s definition.
Can I share some good advice with you? According to psychologist Debra Oswald, you can improve your friendships this week. If you are (1) willing to confess your struggles, (2) ready to bear others’ burdens, (3) open to investing time to deepen your relationships, and (4) up for being generally positive (instead of the person who vents, complains, and grumbles about the government, your health, etc.), you could soon enjoy an actual friendship.
Can I share some good news with you? According to John, Jesus is your friend: “I have called you friends,” Jesus told his followers (John 15:15). If Dr. Oswald’s four steps are right, Jesus accepts you despite your weaknesses, bears your heaviest burdens, makes time to listen to your prayers, and speaks multiple words of comfort for every one word of critique. Just think what this sentence means—You are a friend of God!