Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV).
Friend to Friend
The emotional demands on women are immense. One of the ways God replenishes us emotionally is through friendships. Many women are convinced that the risk of having close friends outweighs the rewards. I disagree.
There is no love without risk. Friendships make us stronger. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says that “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” If you add a strand to a single cord, you double its strength. But if you add a third strand to the cord, it becomes ten times stronger.
Ruth was willing to risk her future for the sake of her friendship with her mother-in-law, Naomi.
John 15:13 says it well: “Greater love has no one than this; that one lay down his life for his friends.’ When we choose to lay down our life, we automatically take a chance on being hurt, rejected, betrayed, or misunderstood.
Anyone who knows me also knows that any living foliage is doomed if left in my care for any length of time. I have even been known to kill a plant without touching it. So, you can understand why I am in awe of anyone who gardens and is actually capable of growing green things.
I once had a neighbor who was known for her green thumb. In fact, everyone in our small Mississippi town knew that the most beautiful roses were found in Joyce’s back yard. It was in that same yard where I learned an important lesson about friendship.
Every afternoon after their naps, I took our two children outside to play in our fenced-in backyard. While Jered and Danna enjoyed the fresh air, neighborhood friends, and their swing set, I enjoyed visiting with Joyce. Most of our conversations took place over the vine-covered fence and her dazzling rose garden.
I loved to watch Joyce plant, prune, water, feed, talk and even sing to her “Rose Babies.” She always wore a long-sleeved shirt covered by a canvas apron and a pair of thick gloves to protect her arms and hands from thorns. It wasn’t enough. Joyce’s hands and arms were always scratched from her work in the rose garden. She didn’t seem to mind.
One afternoon, our conversation abruptly halted when she yanked her hand into the air and yelled, “Ouch!” Blood trickled down her arm from the puncture wound of a thorn. Seriously? When I asked her why she insisted on growing roses instead of some safer and less prickly foliage, her answer was profound. “The beauty of the roses is worth the occasional wound they inflict,” she replied. Joyce had learned to handle the roses with respect and in such a way that her wounds were few. Friendships are much the same.
Yes, friends will hurt you. Friends will wound you. We would be wise to don thick emotional gloves when it comes to handling friendships. It is a fatal mistake to assign the responsibility for our happiness to friends. Depending on a friend to make us happy sets that friend up for failure in the relationship and positions that friendship for inevitable destruction.
I have a friend who simply cannot keep a secret. She tries – she really does! But she just cannot do it. Because I love her and don’t want to write her off as a friend, I have simply chosen to be cautious about what I share with her. That is the cost of having a friendship with her. And when I think about how she prays for me and constantly encourages me, it really isn’t much to pay.
The words of 1 Peter 4:8 say it well, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” In this verse, “cover” literally means to “hide or overlook” the faults. Friendship knows the weaknesses are there but chooses to love anyway. Every friendship has a price tag of some kind attached. We just need to get to the place where love covers the cost.
Father, I want to thank You for being the ultimate Friend. You have never let me down or turned away from me – even when I have turned away from You. Please help me be the kind of friend You want me to be so that Your love can flow through me in my relationships.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What is the greatest hindrance to friendship in your life? What has been the greatest reward of friendship in your life?
More from the Girlfriends
Need help finding and being a friend? Check out Mary’s E-Bible Study, I Need a Friend, that you can download for a small group or personal study. Be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.
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© 2022 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.
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WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS!!!
Blessing to all
Mary I always enjoy your writings.
Today you have an oops. 😃Ruth was Naomi’s daughter-in-law, not the other way around.
God bless you today. E
The error was corrected on the GiG website, but not in time for the email. Blessings!
I am currently praying for a close Christian friend in the city I live in. I have very close friends but they all live in other cities and states. I would love to have someone here to hang out with, talk on the phone, go shopping have lunch. Things like that. I am working on it just nothing has happened yet.
My hindrance is that my empathic heart sometimes, gets bruised when a friend is harsh or short tempered with me, and I let myself feel personal hurt. I know that we are all human,right?
Sometimes it just happens.
But I’m reminded, that God has a very patient history with us. So If He can be patient and kind with my messiness, I can let go of hurt feelings and short comings of others.
Jesus is always there, as the Best Friend anyone could ever have.
I would say intentionality is the biggest hindrance to friendship. As a child, you have more free time and your parents take the lead on playdates and socializing. As an adult, you become responsible. If you don’t prioritize friendships, they don’t happen!
The greatest reward? Probably knowing that I’m not alone, that life doesn’t revolve around me, that there’s uniqueness and variety to everyone, and that others are actively there for me when the storms of life come.
Sheila, I totally agree with you! The best friend of all!
Kayne, thank you for your email. Don’t give up! God will bring you that friend. Maybe from your church … your work … etc. You may have to take the first step and initiate a time to get together with someone. Blessings!
Caarol, you have exactly the right attitude. The Father is always with you. There is a risk in every relationship. But the risk is worth the value of a friendship. Hang in there, friend. Blessings!
TIffany, beautifully said, friend. Friendships are a precious part of our journey. We learn so much in relationships. Thank you for your beautiful perspective. Blessings!
I have been blessed by your messages and ecouragements over a period of time. Thank you for that.
Mary, your message shows my lack of contactwith Christians in my neighbourhood, but I experience a great blokkage in seeking contact. I have mooved house for 32 times and number 33 is on the way. Due to world travels, a very messy marriage and divorce in which fear made me seek a safe place., I never got to settle long enough to make friends in the Christian community.
How do you get to trust a church community that they speak the Word in truth. The churches I have visited all have something I do not agree with. May be that I am looking for “the perfect church” which probably does not excist.
Can you give advice? Should I just join a community with the possibility that they do not speak the Word in thruth just to get Christian Friends? I do find this realy difficult.
Yet your message is realy clear to me and seems important.
Lots of blessings,
Ruth from the Netherlands.