Friendship Choices
Lysa TerKeurst

But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16 (NIV)

“I want to quit school!” Oh such delightful words to hear from my twelve-year-old. Growing up is hard to do, especially in those ‘tween years. It turned out my daughter was having problems with her girlfriends. One of her friends had made plans with Hope and then cancelled when a more appealing offer came along from another girl. To me it seemed like a simple sign of immaturity on her friend’s part. But to Hope, it was devastating. So, I hugged her, prayed with her and gave her some tips on dealing with friends when they hurt your feelings.

A few days later she got in the car after school and said, “Mom, I’ve decided you have a choice with your friends. You can either deal with their quirks or stop hanging around them.”

I replied back, “Hope, that is profound wisdom. If you can remember that piece of relationship advice it will serve you well not just for the middle school years but on into your adult friendships as well.”

Do you ever find yourself struggling in your friendships and ponder how you can change those things about your friends that annoy you? Well, changing someone else is nearly impossible and very frustrating. Maybe we would do well to take the focus off of changing this other person and on improving ourselves. Making this subtle shift will allow real progress. Because while you can’t change the way someone else acts and reacts, you can control yourself. Make sure that your actions and reactions are honoring to God and reflecting the types of friendship qualities that you long for in a friend. After all, if we want a really good friend, we have to be a really good friend.

Once you’ve determined to make positive changes in yourself, pray for that friend that has qualities that are less than desirable. Chances are she has a lot of great qualities that you can choose to focus on. Praise God for her good qualities and mentally hand over each thing troubling you in your friendship. God will either give you the patience to love her despite your differences or He will show you how to create a healthy distance that will serve you both well.

Dear Lord, thank you for the precious gift of friendship. Help me to see and appreciate my friend’s good qualities without getting caught up and frustrated with her negative qualities. Lord, give me wisdom to know when to draw boundaries in my friendships and how to choose my friends wisely. My heart desires friendships that characterized by your love. Help me to be the kind of friend I long to have. Thank you for friends with whom I can laugh, learn and journey through life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Sandpaper People: Dealing with the Ones Who Rub You the Wrong Way by Mary Southerland

Traveling Together: Thoughts on Women, Friendship and the Journey of Faith by Karla Worley

Application Steps:
Ask God to give you a lifetime friend that characterizes your desires in a friendship. If God has already given you this kind of friend, look for ways to bless her and thank her for her friendship. Let her know that you will stick by her through thick and thin. Look for ways to grow closer together by growing closer to God through praying, studying God’s word, or doing ministry together. Write her a note today that reminds her that she is loved and list all the reasons you appreciate her.

Reflections:
Do you have a friend whose occasional “quirkiness” bothers you? We all have friends that have annoying and often frustrating habits, but we choose to love them and stand by them anyway. God’s Word has a lot to say about friendships gone wrong, but Jesus came to teach us how to love unconditionally and bring unity. Read today’s power verses on what those scriptures tell us.
Power Verses:
Proverbs 12:2b, “A righteous man is cautious in friendship.”

Proverbs 12:18, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Ecclesiastes 4:10, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this devotional. I just have had a problem with this and so this was quite helpful.

Anonymous praisegirl said...

My husband and I began marrital counseling in March and he quit a couple weeks ago but I continued with our counselor to se if maybe I can address my issues and then he would want to address his.
Yesturday at my session, my counselor said pretty much the same thing about my husband-I have to be the christian, wife, mother, woman that God wonts me to be before I can ever hope to see my husband and daughter begin to become the man/husband and daughter He intended them to be. I have to quit the pitty party.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always been a standoffish person becasue of past hurts when i was a child, but i find that I use this as an excuse to not be the first person to make a hospitable gesture or initiate a conversation.

Dear God,
Forgive me for anything that I have said or done that has not been pleasing to you. For harsh words or judgemental thoughts about others. For my jaded spirit about the church we attended and my harsh critical thoughts about the couple we saw there. Help me to have the eyes of christ when i look at others not to judge and realize how you see them. Give me a spirit to love others. Help me to let go of past hurt and reach out to others the way that you would. Give me a friend that I can call my sister in christ that I can have a strong relationship with. If this person is already in my life help me to recognize them and develop a I pray words over my children that you help them to chooses friends wisely in their lives that they be strong leaders and not followers that they are well liked by others fo the right reasons b/c they share you love and exude you light.
Amen

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