YOLANDA CONLEY SHIELDS
AUTHOR SPEAKER COACH
FRIENDSHIP - The emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends. MUTUAL ATTACHMENT, BOND, TIE. LINK.
Some of us use the word friendship very loosely. I believe all of our social media contacts have contributed to this. I have 1000’s of social media connections, but I don’t consider all of them my close friends. There is no way to give that many people the attention that close friends deserve. You will support encourage and mentor many that will not become your best friends, and we should be okay with that and not feel the pressure to be something that we are not.
The many close friends that I have in my life are people that I have spent a lot of time with, shared achievements, crises moments, happy and sad times for many years. Some I have known since high school and some over 10 years and some are people I have just met in the past couple of years. I have a core group of close friends, who include my sisters; others I have connected with are like my children, daughters, mentees, and sisters. They know who they are and I cherish every moment that I am able to spend with them. Some I started out working with and have become like family to me and now I am watching them raise their children and learning to build a life as a wife, mother and friend. It is great to watch the growth. I even have new friends that I have just started building a friendship with through ministry and praying together and even planning some travel adventures. At what ever level the friendship they are important to me.
Sometimes people are only connections, acquaintances, or someone we met one time, but we have a strong connection to them. I think we sometimes feel we have to make the statement “my friend” to make people feel a connection or comfortable with us. Friendships are built over time. I do believe we can meet people and feel an instant connection and have a divine connection that we know was supposed to happen. Remember friendship can fall into categories. SEASON REASON LIFETIME AND FAMILY. Make sure you know the difference, because I have seen many people hurt because they didn’t know and expected something from a friend who was in a different category than they thought or hoped for.
The Japanese have a term, kenzoku, which translated literally means "family." The connotation suggests a bond between people who've made a similar commitment and who possibly therefore share a similar destiny. It implies the presence of the deepest connection of friendship, of lives lived as comrades from the distant past. You will encounter a few people that will fit into this category. It could be someone that you don’t see or talk to everyday, but when you see them it is like you never have been apart. Time and distance do nothing to diminish the bond we have with these kinds of friends.
Proverbs is another good source of wisdom regarding friends. "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity" Proverbs 17:17. "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" Proverbs 18:24. The issue here is that in order to have a friend, one must be a friend. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" Proverbs 27:17.
The principle of friendship is also found in Amos. "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Amos 3:. Friends are of like mind. The truth that comes from all of this is a friendship is a relationship that is entered into by individuals, and it is only as good or as close as those individuals choose to make it. Someone has said that if you can count your true friends on the fingers of one hand, you are blessed.
A friend is one whom you can be yourself with and never fear that he or she will judge you. A friend is someone that you can confide in with complete trust. A friend is someone you respect and that respects you, not based upon worthiness but based upon a likeness of mind. Cherish your close friendships with respect and love that it deserves.
In both Testaments the ideas of friend and friendship involve three components: association, loyalty, and affection. There are also three levels of meaning: friendship as association only; friendship as association plus loyalty; and friendship as association plus loyalty plus affection.