"Friends realize the right to criticize must be earned even if their advice is constructive in nature." - James Dobson
As I am reading about friendship in my Old Testament Survey book, Encountering the Old Testament, this chapter really struck out to me. It is called Developing Lasting Relationships.
It started off with saying how we often talk about the same things with people.
-"How are you?"
-"Great, how are you?"
-"Fantastic, how is the family?"
-"Doing well, how bout them Tigers huh?"
-"Wow, am I excited for next year!"
-"Yeah...well, gotta go. Have a good day."
-"Yeah, you too."
I do this more often than I really thought about. In church, work, etc. I can carry on a short conversation with someone, Amanda will ask me what their name is, and I have no idea. I think I am missing out on some lasting relationships by not spending the time to get to know some people. Here are some examples of lasting relationships that have been built and are now ones we cherish.
-Greg and Crystal Cromp (and girls): We coached Camisha Cromp is Softball and we had no idea who her parents were. Amanda got up to chatting with Crystal and soon they started to build a relationship. We would come over and I remember one time Camisha actually saying "These are my friends" and Crystal said "Well, honey, they are now ours too." This to this day makes me laugh. But the problem was Greg and I had nothing in common. Greg is an outdoorsman...a hunter, fisher and all around fixer upper. Me...the closest thing I ever shot was clay skeet. Ask me to fix something, give me about a couple months and then I will call Greg. But we ended up spending time together and chatting and getting to know each other. I now consider this man a brother. Someone I trust and count on and one of the only people in my life that I will tell anything. They now live in New York, which is sad, but it has not stopped our friendship.
-John and Lorna Lyman (and girls): So Greg and Crystal move to New York, what do they try and do...pawn us off to a new couple to hang out with so they don't feel they left us high and dry. One of these couples is the Lyman's. We didn't know the Lyman's too well, except that we taught Jordyn in Middle School and would chat with them at Jr. High events. But, eventually we started spending a little more time with them. We now meet them for Bible Studies and can sit down with them and have a converstaion. 3 hours can pass by and we will be like...."Where did that time go?" (And for those of you who know me well, I HATE just sitting around and talking) This is one couple who I can actually sit down with and feel comfortable enough to tell them anything. Now, John is almost like a second dad to Lorelai. He loves her so much and I can tell she loves him back. John and I have a lot in common and I can see that we will be great friends. The relationship between their family and ours is still growing, and i am excited to what this relationship will bring.
There are not many people out there that I can call family, but these two families are like our family. I care for each of them as much as I care for my own. God has blessed us with these amazing people in our lives. But, if we didn't try to build that relationship, we could have missed out. How many relationships are we missing out on because we don't try to build it?
Friendships are built and developed around certain key ingredients:
1. Common Interests
2. Personal Significance: "You are important to me."
3. Honest Communication
4. Unconditional Love
5. Genuine Concern
6. Personal Encouragement
7. Long-Term commitment
It is not easy for me to make lifelong friends, but then again, I don't try hard enough. I encourage not only myself, but you, to reach out to someone you know and strengthen a relationship with someone by meeting them for lunch or get together as couples for coffee. Try Harder, because you never know what you might be missing out on.