Friendship is Built on Sacrifice
I want to talk about building a friendship today. But here’s the thing, long-lasting friendships don’t come easy. The best ones thrive when they’re built on sacrifice.
Looking to the Bible we see the example of Ruth and Naomi. They had one of the most powerful friendships in the Bible that was built on the foundation of sacrifice.
After the death of their husbands, Naomi wanted to leave the land of Moab to live with her people. It was in Ruth’s best interest that Naomi go alone, but Ruth wouldn’t accept that. She insisted on going with her.
Without a closer look at the underlying conflict between the two cultures, one might not fully understand that Ruth’s decision to stay with Naomi was an incredible sacrifice. Moving away from her people to live in a foreign land would limit her chances of finding a husband. It was commanded in their law that Israelites marry other Israelites, rather than seek out brides that serve pagan gods as the Moabites did. (Deuteronomy 7:2-3)
One of the most beautiful pieces of scripture is found in this chapter:
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. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me. ~ Ruth 1:16-17
Can you imagine the fear that Ruth had? As Corrie Ten Boom would say, “She was leaving an unknown future in the hands of an alknowing God.” That’s faith.
Sacrificial love like that is a beautiful thing. But when it’s tested, it doesn’t come easy.
Easy love is running rampant in our society. Unfortunately so is divorce. When couples do what “feels good” instead of what “is good,” they exchange the truth of God for a lie.
Love Is Supernatural
If I want that kind of relationship with my husband. Like Ruth, I’m going to have to walk the difficult road when it’s required of me.
It’s not natural to give up your life for the sake of another. It’s not natural to say a kind word in the heat of an argument. It’s not natural to forgive those who hurt you. And it’s not natural to take the first step toward reconciliation.
When we become children of God we leave behind that natural man to love as He loves. We discover a supernatural way of loving one another that excels the wisdom of man.
Remember This Truth
Before I go any further, I want to remind you of this very important truth. Put it to memory or write it down if you have to because I don’t want you to forget it. This is especially important to those of you who are going through a tough time in your marriage–and I know that there are a lot of you out there.
Here it is:
Don’t look to your husband for your reward. Don’t measure the success of your effort by his response. Don’t get discouraged if he doesn’t respond to your love the way that you want Him to.
The best rewards that you will ever receive come from God. Everything else is temporal.
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. – Colossians 3:23-24
Every time you step down in humility He sees you. Every time you say sorry He takes note of it. Every time you pray for your husband He hears you. Every time you choose to walk in God’s love He remembers. And every time your heart breaks He has compassion on you.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have the strong friendship you hope for. Things in this life can be idolized including friendships and marriage. A wise friend recently reminded me that once we get to heaven friendships will be restored.
10 Things that Friends Do Well
Finally let’s close this topic on friendship today by looking at 10 things that friends do well.
(paraphrased from Messy Beautiful Love chapter 12. By Darlene Schacht. Used with permission from Thomas Nelson)
- Protect each others reputation
- Run to each other with your ups and downs
- Remind each other that he or she is wanted and loved
- Cheer each other up when you’re down
- Make each other laugh like no one else can
- Be honest in a gentle and compassionate way
- Handle each other’s emotions with care
- Be personal cheerleaders who want the best for each other
- Encourage personal growth
- Make each other comfortable when you’re together
I wonder if Ruth and Naomi ever laughed together as friends. More than likely they did, and I wish I could have been there to see it…
You are loved by an almighty God,
The Time-Warp Wife