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Deacon-structing Friendship - Part 5: Jesus?

September 17, 2017
The phrase "my friend Jesus" brings up memories of the 70s and playing folk music at Mass. But what can Jesus teach us about friendship?
Last week we looked at a very important quality of friendship: Faithfulness. A good friend sticks with you through thick and thin. They may not be able to help you all the time, but they don’t let you suffer alone.
Ultimately, I guess, for Christians, the true measure of friendship is Jesus.

Can we be the kind of friend that Jesus was?

Here’s what He said: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Notice he doesn’t just say ‘love one another’, that would include all the things I’ve just written about: trust, honesty, fun, forgiveness, faithfulness, – those are part of love – but he says, ‘love one another as I have loved you.’ He qualifies the love.
And in case there is any doubt as to what he meant, he then tells us, “no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13) A friend is someone who is willing to sacrifice for you.
That doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to die for a friend, but are you willing to sacrifice, give something up, for a friend?
Would you sacrifice watching the hockey game in order to help your friend with his homework? Would you sacrifice your weekend at the cottage in order to help a friend move? Would you sacrifice your last 10 bucks ‘cause your friend is a bit short this week?
I can hear my kids saying that’s ok, as long as it doesn’t happen all the time. It’s ok to sacrifice, but if your friends are taking advantage of you, then they’re not really friends.

This makes me think of a couple more signs of a good friendship.

These are things not just to look for in a friendship, but for us to work towards as well.
1. Freedom. A friend doesn’t want to control you or manipulate you. Good friends have to grow together, but also independently from each other.
2. A good friend is also not jealous of you or of others spending time with you.
3. A good friendship is also inclusive of others. Good friends are not self-absorbed with one another – even if they are “dating”. They don’t have to spend all their time together or do everything together. In a true friendship, there’s always room for more. A good friend can live without the other person. They are not attached at the hip.
4. A good friend is not abusive in any way. A good friend doesn’t threaten you, throw things at you, or call you names. That’s not a friend. That’s a bully.
A good friend doesn’t try to make you feel bad for not spending time with them. We think we’d never let anyone treat us like that but then we let our friends do it.
And many, many young people let their friends —and especially girls, let their boyfriends— treat them like that. You wouldn’t let some stranger treat you like dirt, so why would you let your boyfriend treat you like that?

My friend Jesus

A friend is someone whom you can trust, who’s honest with you and is faithful. A friend is someone who is fun but can also be serious when necessary. A friend is always kind with you even when they have to be firm about something. A friend doesn’t gossip about you or take advantage of you. A friend is always helpful and sticks by you no matter what.
Ultimately, a good friend is someone who loves us like Jesus loves us.
I guess we can all say, "My friend Jesus."
Let me know your thoughts. Write to me.

Every week, Deacon Pedro takes a particular topic apart, not so much to explore or explain the subject to its fullness, but rather to provide insights that will deepen our understanding of the subject. And don’t worry, at the end of the day he always puts the pieces back together. There are no limits to deaconstructing: Write to him and ask any questions about the faith or Church teaching: pedro@saltandlighttv.org
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