As a junior high student, I was so frustrated when I didn’t have a friend available on Friday night. That’s when my mother would make this statement, “You are blessed if you have one or two really good friends.” At that time, I definitely didn’t want to hear that!
One or two? I wanted way more than one or two; seven for every day of the week seemed a much better fit!
Now as I have my own children, I see the value of teaching them that more is not always better when it comes to friendships; especially friends that are very close to our hearts.
To teach this principle, I draw a target on a piece of paper, making the bull’s eye a heart. Starting with the outer ring, I point to the open space and share, “The outside ring is for those children you have met and know that they are not a good fit for you. Maybe they act or talk in ways that don’t follow the advice in the Bible or maybe your interests are very different. Do not completely exclude these people from your life. Pray and ask the Lord to open a door for you to share Him with them.”
Moving in to the next ring, I instruct, “The second ring is for those people who you have just met, maybe a new neighbor or a transfer student in a school. While you are getting to know them, keep this new friendship in the “getting to know them” stage. Keep learning more and more about them until you can see if they are a good match for a good friend for you.”
“The inner ring is for those friends that you have known for awhile; you know you can trust them and they can trust you. These are the types of friends you can go skating, to the mall or play games with. They may or may not know Jesus, but they do have the same values as you. Again, if they do not, pray and ask the Lord for an opportunity for you to share Jesus with them.” I caution my daughters that large amounts of unhurried time is how friendships really develop. Things such as sleep overs and camps are places where this happens very quickly. I use the word caution because we can begin to trust a friendship too soon. The secrets that they shared at the slumber party on Friday night can become the newest gossip morsel on Monday morning. Friendships need time to be proven; encourage your child not to rush them.
“Then there are the bull’s eye friendships. This will be one or two of your closest friends. These friends are the ones that you trust with your deepest secrets and you can be trusted with theirs. The most important thing is that these friends love and know Jesus like you do. This is important because you may ask for their advice or turn to them for support during a hard time. If they also believe that God’s word is the basis for wisdom, then you will expect that they will encourage you in the right direction and you can encourage them as well.”
As my mother said, we are all really blessed if we have one or two “bull’s eye” friends. As a mom to my precious children, I am going to pray and ask the Lord that He will bring about the type of friends into my children’s lives that will support their faith and help them to become more like Christ, but I also want to model these types of friendships in my own life. I try to point out to my children the types of friends I have and how they fit into the target model.
I know as a new school year begins, many of you are praying for your child to meet some godly friends at school. For me, it’s start by praying for my son who is a sophomore in college to my youngest daughter who is starting high school. I believe that the Lord will hear and answer our prayers. May the prayers we are praying collide with the prayers of another mother creating some godly friendships this school year!
(This article first appeared on Internet Cafe Devotions)
The winner from last week for the DVD and 30 minute chat with me is Norma! Thank you to each and every one of you who contacted me to share “His Revolutionary Love” with the youth directors and investors in your communities. I SO appreciate you!