What it Really Means to be a Good Friend

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When I was in high school Facebook started to really take off. Now as I’m sure you have observed, Facebook changes a lot. They change their layout, how the news feed works, what actually goes in the newsfeed, etc.

Now, people don’t often click the “about” section on people’s Facebook profiles (I know I don’t). However I remember in some of the early Facebook designs, your “about” section was easily seen as it was displayed on your main page.

And I remember I used to think how interesting it was in the way some people talked about themselves, and perhaps you saw this as well.

But I can remember how some would talk about the type of person they were and say things to the effect of, “if you respect me I’ll respect you, or if you love me I’ll love you.” And there were various ways these main ideas were expressed.

Yet this was always ironic to me. I remember thinking that this is not a very effective way to view relationships. It’s not effective because it is always asking the other person to go first. But respecting someone who respects you is easy, that doesn’t make us “good” people. We all are much more inclined to like someone who was gracious and kind to us first. That’s merely reciprocation, it doesn’t make us genuinely caring people.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

-1 John 4:9-11

Thankfully for us, this is not the approach God took. Not that we loved God, but that he loved us.

You see, what makes a good friend is someone willing to take the first step. For followers of Jesus, God has called us to do this very thing toward others, just as he did for us.

God took the first step toward us, and that is an example of how we should take the first step towards others.

Question: What does it look like for you to be this type of friend?

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