God calls us his friends, but are we really his friends? Are we suppose to treat God like a person? If we know what being a friend truly is, then, absolutely, yes, we need to treat God like he is a person. We need to say hi to him when we see him. We need to congratulate him when something goes his way. We need to celebrate with him and be sad for him and ask if we can do anything to help. We need to respect and love him, just like we need to respect and love our friends.
I’ve never had a friendship last without work. We can’t expect to stay friends with a person if we don’t respect them, if we find it amusing to ridicule them when they don’t like it, if we constantly do things that amuse us but make our friend mad. How can a relationship last when it’s one sided? How can a relationship last if mutual enjoyment isn’t found? It can’t. On the same token, forgiveness and mercy are keys to successful friendships. More often than not, the most powerful way to show mercy is to keep our mouths shut when we know we are about to say something that hurts our friend. On the flip side of the coin, the most powerful way to show forgiveness is to open our mouths and talk to our friend even if we are mad at them.
It’s okay to have a different personality. Many people like someone who is different from themselves because it makes life interesting. It’s fun to take part in a different perspective, in a different way of discovering ideas and painting pictures and telling stories. It’s valuable to have friends who own different sets of skills because their skills can help us achieve in ways that we cannot. Different is good. Different is fun and different makes creativity explode into excellent masterpieces. It doubles success and adds spice and zest and humor and thrill and amusement to any relationship. So why in the world would we want to ridicule what is different than ourselves?
We need to learn how to work with what is different, not deny it, not disrespect it. We need to love difference, and as we learn how to love what is different than ourselves, we will blossom as individuals as well as grow lasting relationships with the people around us.
Same goes for our relationship with God. Guess what? God is different than humans! Not because he is God, but because he is ultimately good and humans need to learn how to be good. And the good of God is what will hold relationships together. So, with God, we get a win-win. With God we learn the key tools it takes to hold relationships together, and we use those tools with people as well as we use them to please God.
God is working with us. We do a lot of things that he doesn’t like, but he works with us so that we can continue to learn what being a true friend is all about. God constructed us to be joyful when we do what he likes, when we show compassion, mercy, love, patience and forgiveness. When we show strength, genius, justice and when we use our talents and skills that he gave us to lay down our lives for our friends, just as Christ laid down his life for us.
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete” (Luke 6:46-49).