“There is a reason good friends are hard to find. You don’t find them, you make them. And they are made on the journey of the heart. Masculine friendship, brotherhood, and redemptive community are forged over time together, knowing one another’s stories, and journeying together.”
In the movie Stand By Me, Stephen King wrestles with the issue of friendship. The movie tells the tale of 4 young boys on an adventure together and ends with this line:
I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Does anyone?
Then Ben E. King’s song Stand By Me, begins to play;
When the night has come, and the land is dark, and the moon is the only light we see
No I won’t be afraid, No I won’t be afraid, just as long as you stand, stand by me.
I find that powerful, if not convicting. I consider my wife Jan to be my best friend. I would choose to hang out with her over anyone, anytime. My guess is a lot of guys would say the same thing – about their wives, not Jan! Yet, I would also guess that for most guys, deep down, there is a longing to have deep friendships with other guys. And I would believe that there is or would be something redeeming about that as well. And while my first quote and the movie are strictly focused on guys, I think that this whole concept is applicable to the Church, the so-called Beloved Community. How do we forge deep friendships, a brother and sisterhood, a redemptive Community? How do we learn to trust each other deeply standing with each other in the darkest of hours as well as in the joy of daylight? Have we deluded ourselves into thinking that the church is solely missional? Have we come to understand the church as an educational or informational avenue only? Have we allowed the divisive vitriol of the world to so invade us that we easily draw lines in the sand and arm ourselves for battle against each other rather than brave friendship? And have we so spiritualized matters that loving Jesus can somehow exclude the significance of earthly friendships? I think the redeeming work of Christ would include the rich blessings of friendship. Michael Thompson’s quote says it plainly, you don’t find friends, you make friends. And that is what makes it difficult, does it not? The older I get, the more this presses in on me. I have been busy with work and with family and I wonder, sometimes, if I have neglected the work, the good work, of forging friendships.
Pondering out loud.
Some friends may ruin you,
But a real friend will be more loyal than a brother. Proverbs 18.24