“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.”
“You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing.” ~ Charlotte’s Web
I have always loved this sweet exchange between Wilbur the pig, and Charlotte, the ingenious spider who saved his life. E.B. White’s insight was profound: true friendship is a treasure.
Often we consider what attributes we are seeking in a relationship and purpose to find someone who will meet our needs and match our requirements for friendship. But what is most important is to become a friend who is worthy of someone else’s affection. Obtaining the qualities that will shape us into true friends should be our goal.
True friendship reveals itself in times of crisis. We once had a terrible house fire that put us out of our home for seven months. During that time we were amazed at the people who came alongside us and offered to help us in so many ways. It inspired and humbled me, challenging me to be more aware of the true needs of others; it allowed me the privilege of knowing what true friendship looks like.
True friendship expresses itself through kindness. Each of us has rough edges that need to be polished off as we grow in grace. Genuine friends will welcome those foibles, seeking to confront and encourage each other to change while always doing so in a kind way. Cinderella’s admonition to “have courage and be kind” is never more apply applied than between friends!
True friendship always seeks the best for another and never allows jealousy to rule the day. So often we are tempted to not only want what someone else has but we also do not want them to have it. Beauty, success, and talent can become snares that will keep us from enjoying the other good gifts God gives to us. Scripture warns us that “Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4)
True friendship will bring us together with another person on a number of levels but for a Christian, the deepest experiences will be with those who share a spiritual connection to us. While we can enjoy relationships with all sorts of people, those things that matter most in life can only be truly shared with another person who is also committed to Jesus.
True friendship is a gift orchestrated by God. While we can work toward the goal of becoming women of character who can be wise and dear friends to others, we must remember that God, in His sovereign plan for our lives, is the one who places true friendship in our path. C. S. Lewis said it so well: “In friendship …we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.” ~ The Four Loves by C.S Lewis
(Originally published in Dear Magazine, 2015)