A place of writing and reflection…
My Stars class I teach on Wednesday nights at my church recently finished a unit on friendship. Its purpose was to teach why we need friends—or people for that matter, right and wrong friends, how to be or make friends, and who’s the perfect friend.
Ironically enough, one of those nights a couple of the girls got into a bit of a spat in regards to name calling and tattle telling. One girl said something the other didn’t like and the latter told on her just as kids do (and even some of us adults). Even after things were made amends, the two found a way to nag each other, only to produce tears for both of them. Seeing the problem I called the oldest over to my desk and proceeded to ask her what was going on.
“S-s-she’s mad at me,” the girl answered through plenty of sobbing. “And she’s not—”
“Not what,” I asked.
“She’s not gonna want to be my friend any more.”
Anyone remember those old days back in elementary? I do. One of your friends said or did something you didn’t like, or perhaps they were the culprit, but somewhere along the lines, “I’m not your friend anymore” escapes a pair of lips. Then we either snuff it off as “so what” while our insides may very well be crying the opposite or we run to our parents or teacher thinking the other to be just a big meany.
We can laugh at it now, seeing just how ridiculous we really were fighting over that favorite toy car or who was going to get to the monkey bars first. Yet at the time, as children, it felt as though the world were coming to an end. This was the case with my girls that night.
Trying to resolve the issue with the least amount of tears I asked my student, “Who is the Perfect Friend?”
I was answered with a whiney “huh” to which I repeated the question.
Collecting herself she finally answered , “Jesus.”
In a previous lesson we had talked about how we as people weren’t perfect, thus our friendships with people weren’t. Sometimes we hurt our friends. Other times they hurt us. This goes for any relationship whether it be a spouse, sibling, parent, boss, or co-worker. None of us are perfect and it’s a truth that’s been grounded in us since we were small. Yet when things don’t work out after it seemed to have been going so well, we lose it.
Some of us still strive for that perfection and when we fail, it all falls apart. Others of us know it’s not going to work so we don’t even bother.
“What’s the point,” we say.
For the Christian there is only one Perfect Friend; Jesus Christ. For us, He laid out the perfect example of how to make and be a friend. He helped those in need while not allowing others cast them aside as worthless. He stayed away from those who’s ideas of friendship were far from good and corrected those He knew could do better.
We could all do better. Just like my girls occasionally nag on each others’ mistakes to the point of tears, we as adult tend to be over critical, judgmental and unforgiving.
Jesus during the time He was being tried for blasphemy and slew of other charges was betrayed by His disciple Peter who denied Him, not once, but three times. Keep in mind this was not something Jesus merely heard about later, one of the soldiers taunting Him as He was lead to His death. Rather, Peter was within earshot of Jesus’ trial. Jesus heard the words ‘straight from the horse’s mouth—and they hurt.
Peter had spent the last three years following Jesus around, hot fired up that he was chillin’ with the long awaited Messiah, only to deny ever knowing Him when things started to look bleak. Imagine all the things they had seen and done together—all the meals eaten, all the talks and all the new friends met along the way.
But Jesus didn’t look back at His disciple and say with tear filled eyes, “I’m not your friend anymore.” Sadly He watched Peter flee, both men with tear stained cheeks. We say it was no surprise to Jesus. He had warned Peter of it sometime before—but it didn’t make it hurt any less.
Then three days later, lo and behold, who should it be making breakfast for the flawed disciple? Jesus. He didn’t nag Peter about what he had done, or how he made Jesus feel. Jesus didn’t so much as even ask for an apology. He didn’t brag to the guys about how much of a flub-up Peter had made of himself.
“Well you know this guy, don’t hang with him because he’ll just leave you high and dry,” was not the order of the day.
Instead, He offered Peter a place to sit and bite to eat.