Ok, I am not sure where this post might lead but here it goes. As I look more into the friendships that I have had I realize they all have one common denominator – my true friends don’t judge me and I don’t judge them. We just do life together. We accept each other for who we are – nothing more, nothing less. The good, the bad and yes, even the ugly. We just experience life together as we journey through our lives.

I mentioned before that friendships aren’t easy, you have to want the friendship bad enough, that you are willing to work for it. Over the years I have met numerous acquaintences and have been friends with them for a season but only a handful have stood the test of time. Why is that? For me, there was an initial bond/attraction of some sort that drew me to want to get to know them better. It’s during that initial time we decide how much work we want to put toward a potential friendship.

With some, it’s an easy, natural progression to develop the relationship. With others, it takes time to develop a repoir – the testing phase as it were. Do I trust this person well enough to let them get close to me? I also watch how they interact with other people. Do they have integrity in their relationships? No integrity, no friendship. And in every developing friendship there are always tests – life happens and that’s when we really discover how much we value the relationship.

One such moment that happened in my life was a time where I started dating this girl and everything was progressing fine. As the months started to pass, I brought her into my life more and more and naturally introduced her to my two best friends at the time and they happened to be married to each other. Now when I say best friend, I mean best friend! My relationship with both of them was just incredible as both of them treated me like a brother! Well, like most of my romantic relationships did at the time, my latest romance started to fizzle and we broke it off. Prior to this break-up, all of the other ex’s had just kind of faded away.

Not so with this one. I would drive over to see my friends and there I would see my ex-girlfriends car in the drive-way. Well, no way did I want to stop in and go through any potential frustration so I would just head home. I would call my best friend from time to time and things seemed normal but it seemed like everytime I would go over to their house, there would be the ex’s car in the driveway. After a period of time, I just quit going by. I would still talk on the phone but over time that became kind of strained as well, so eventually, I even quit calling.

Now were at the part where I learn what friendship is all about. Fast forward 3, 6 or 9 months, I don’t remember exactly but let’s just say some time had passed and I may not have all the events in proper sequence but the following is what occured next. I had met the most beautiful girl in the world and I knew I would one day marry her (she at this time did not share the same sentiment – but that’s for another story). Everyone I knew had heard about my new love….except for my “best” friends.

I decided that it had been long enough so I called them. I got him on the phone and it really felt like we hadn’t missed a beat, so I just invited myself over like I had done a hundred times before but this time there was a pause and fear came over me as I thought to myself – they have chosen my ex-girlfriend over me. And just as the fear was really taking hold, he told me to come on over. Whew, that was close and I was excited about renewing our friendship.

Well, you have heard about the return of the Prodigal Son? Yea, well my reception was nothing like that, almost the exact opposite. I did not make it any further into the house than the kitchen table which was right beside the door. Over the next hour or so I was blessed to learn some incredible lessons on what friendship was really about and carry those lessons with me today. And I hope I have passed them on to my children. What lessons you ask?

First, I learned to not make assumptions based on my perceptions. My perception was that they had chosen my EX because everytime I drove by their house, I saw her car in the driveway. They were upset with me because their assumption was that I had left “my problem” on their doorstep to deal with. Secondly, if I had not been afraid of rejection, I would have confronted them about the situation and we would have avoided all of the strain on our relationship but I chose to ignore the problem in hopes it would just get better.

General lessons I learned was to be truthful, no matter how awkward or painful it might be to hear. To listen and HEAR what is being said. Be willing to admit fault and ask for forgiveness. But the thing that was most overwhelming to me that night was that – they just loved me. Even through the tough part of the night as we worked through our problems, I never questioned their heart or motive as everything they did was done with grace and mercy. I was 18 at the time and they were 28. A large part of how I approach life in general goes back to that night.

I am not always able to be full of grace and mercy but it is what I strive for. And I can’t thank these 2 wonderful people enough for their example of a Godly marriage and most importantly to me; demonstrating what true friendship really is! Love you both!!