There was a time in my life when I thought I needed to be friends with anyone who was interested. It didn’t matter if they were like-minded, a person of character or even nice. If they were in my world, it was my job to befriend them, bring value to the relationship, share my heart and hope they did the same. Unfortunately, that wasn’t always the case. There were many times I found myself in a one-way relationship, putting a significant amount of effort into friendships that I never hand picked in the first place.
I recently began to notice a pattern in the Bible: Friendships are very strategic. They aren’t built out of obligation, they are built out of authentication. They aren’t forced, they aren’t easy and sometimes, they aren’t meant to be. In fact, I clearly see how not every relationship is ordained by God.
But for those that are, how do we build them? Nourish them? And enjoy them?
Sometimes God gives us assignments that will force us to lean on friends. In Exodus 17, God sends Moses to the top of the hill to watch Joshua and some of his men fight a battle. When Moses held his hands up in the air, they were winning. When his hands went down, the battle took a turn for the worse.
"As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands remained steady till sunset."(Exodus 17:11-12)
These fine fellas didn’t have to fight this battle with Moses, they chose to. When we read these scriptures, it seems like such a beautiful moment, but I’m sure there were moments of frustration. Chances are, they experienced fear together, may have disagreed and it’s even possible that (working that close in proximity) they may have ticked each other off. Hypothetical, but likely. It’s human nature.
There are two kinds of people: those that come alongside you to hold your arms up and those who come alongside you with arms crossed. Those that help carry out God’s direction and those who want to give their direction.
Aaron and Hur aren’t focused on what they can gain from this act of love for Moses, nor are they fault finding. They simply stepped in, saw what needed to be done and did it. They did not point out when he was losing the battle, but worked diligently to help him win. Ultimately, they were more focused on what they could contribute to the relationship than what they could gain or they wouldn’t have won the battle. Even more than that, they went to great lengths to help Moses be obedient to God.
I want to be the type of friend that will focus on the fight for my friends and not the faults of my friends; the kind of friend that supports Gods call to the battlefield of life.
Not all battles are won. Not all battles are fun. Not all battles are worth fighting. There will be ups and downs, twists and turns. We all need the kind of friends that will hop on with us, throw their hands in the air and enjoy the ride.
Friends can make or break us, so choose them and choose them well!
Characteristics of Healthy Friendships:
Honesty Trust Affirmation Authenticity (freedom to be yourself) Vulnerability Transparency Unthreatened by other friendships Intentionality