I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately. Last year, God spoke to me a lot about his plan, timing and trusting him in everything. This year, our time together has been dominated by how I interact with other people and what friendship really is.
How does this relate to the Big Bang Theory?
One of my favorite episodes is a Christmas show where we learn Sheldon's view's on gift giving. According to Sheldon, when one person gives a gift to another person, the receiver is expected to give a gift that matches in price value. In other words, if I gave you a book valued at $15, then proper Sheldon etiquette would say that you should also give me a gift that is valued at exactly $15. As you can imagine, this can be quite difficult. In this particular episode, Sheldon's neighbor Penny has told Sheldon that she will be giving him a Christmas gift. In order to be prepared for whatever she gives him, Sheldon buys multiple gift baskets of different values and safely stores them in the bathroom until he finds out what Penny will give him.
Watch what happens.... (dumb youtube requirements say I can't embed the video, so you really will have to go watch it...)
Sheldon was so concerned about matching the value of Penny's gift that he was completely unprepared for a heartfelt gift that had immeasurable value.
Back to friendships. For as long as people have been calling each other "friends," we've told children, "To make friends, you have to be a friend."
What kind of crap is that???
Maybe I'm a little sensitive because I've fallen into that pattern of belief too, but IT'S NOT TRUE!
(First, let me say that I have some of the best friends in the entire world. I have two very close sisters in Christ that I know that I can call at any time and they will love me no matter what.)
Just like Sheldon and his gift giving etiquette, we believe that if we're nice to someone, encourage them and invite them to hang out with us they should return the same level or value of friendship to us........ you see where the myth is starting to come in?
Have you ever been "friends" with someone and no matter how much energy and friend-like activities you expel on them, they couldn't care less? That hurts.
Maybe it hurts because we're thinking about it wrong.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning,that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers,that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death
1 John 3:11-14
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
1 John 3:16
Can you see where this is going? Philippians talks about putting others before ourselves. It talks about a selfless love. This idea is furthered in 1 John when we're reminded to love one another, but also that we shouldn't be surprised if the world hates us.
Now "hate" is a strong word that I can't bring myself to use very often. I don't think I've ever hated someone that doesn't want to be friends. It's hurt. I've grieved over lost friendships, but the general idea is that not everyone is going to want to be friends with you. Whether you're a Christian or not, we've all experienced that in some way.
I could expound on what I think of friendships and relationships for days. I can rationalize away my behavior or other people's, but the final end-all statement about any kind of relationships is exactly what it says in 1 John 3:16. Christ laid down his life for us, and we should do the same for others.
That sums it up. We're commanded, no matter how the other person reacts, to lay down our lives for our fellow man. Love sacrificially.
Something that God's taught me is that sometimes the sacrificial part is any kind of returned friendship.
God, this entire concept is almost impossible for me to grasp. Show me how to be selfless. Help me give something without any expectation of anything in return. Continue to prompt me to lay down my life for others. Most of all God, remind me that only you can fill that void in my heart that longs for friendship.