How to build friendships

Principal Mrs Maryanne Davis spoke to our girls about Jesus’ example of what true friendship is, and how they can build such relationships in their lives.

Recently I have been reading writings by Caitlin Orr on the Bible Society’s on-line devotions. She is an Assistant Minister
at Watsons Bay Anglican Church in Sydney.

Everything I speak about this morning will reflect Ms Orr’s writings. She said this about friendship: “In John 15, Jesus teaches that friendship is sacrificial — that ‘greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’. And we know that Jesus did go on to do exactly that. We see that true love comes at a cost.“

When we look at the Cross, we see the friend who loves the most, sacrifices the most and looks outward the most: Jesus is the ultimate model of Biblical friendship. And, most incredibly, Jesus invites us to be his friends.

Jesus says: “You are my friends if you do what I command”. He considers us his friends when we continue in his love and in obedience to him.

We often sing: “Sister let me be your servant” ... Friendship with a servant heart will be costly in terms of our personal convenience and time, and also as we move out of our comfort zone and make ourselves vulnerable.

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True leadership is acting in the way we know is right even when it is hard - Mrs Maryanne Davis

What does it look like to have a servant heart towards my friends?

It may mean doing things that your friend wants to do rather than something you want to do because they are having a rough time. It may mean changing plans to help someone. Friendship may cost time.

It may mean giving up time to call a friend to say hi and check in, when you would much rather lie on the couch and watch TV, and it may mean keeping commitments with friends when life gets crazy.

A friend is there in the hard times more than the good. No matter the obstacles thrown at your friend, you remain stuck to them like glue.

Of course, then there’s the fair-weather friend: one who is only there in the good times. You may have some laughs, but as soon as things get tough, they disappear.

Servant-hearted leadership may mean opening up your life and heart and letting someone else know the real you. Friendship costs, as you need to be vulnerable and that is not always fun.

As Jonathan Holmes says: “If love in its highest and greatest form was demonstrated through Christ’s self-sacrificial death on our behalf, then clearly the love we display to one another through our friendships must also be characterized by self-sacrifice.

Some important questions

  • If you are a friend whose friendship disappears in the hard times, are you really a friend?
  • How can you be self-sacrificial in your friendships?
  • Have you been self-centered in your friendships and need to ask God to help you change?
  • What are some practical ways you can serve your friends?

Friendship is outward looking: we should always be seeking to make friendships better and to include more in the group of people we call friends.

Caitlin Orr says: “The purpose of friendship isn’t to sit with someone and gaze at our navels. The purpose of friendship isn’t to sit in an enclosed group and let no one else in. The purpose of friendship isn’t collecting friends so you can say you have the most. . . . (The Biblical examples of) friendship (are) an open circle that says ‘the more the merrier; please come and join us’.

“Biblical examples of friendship don’t allow for cliques. Cliques are a group of inward-looking people who have said that ‘this little group is our little group and no one else is welcome’. This is the opposite of the model of friendship that Jesus gives us.” And it is Jesus’ model of friendship - the “open circle” - that we should seek to emulate.

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Showing true leadership in peer groups

Speaking out against people doing the wrong thing in your friendship or peer group is probably the hardest area in which we can show leadership.

You can be a bystander to mean words, exclusion, ridicule, or you can speak up and say: “No, in our group this mustn’t happen!”

Over the holidays, make sure that you ask everyone who is vaguely in your group to the movie. Tell that person who says the wrong thing on social media, to take down that Instagram post. Think about who in your year might not have someone to spend time with these holidays and ask them to join us in whatever we are doing.

Keen minds & faithful hearts ...  We nurture each girl so that she learns about the person and teachings of Jesus Christ and so that she is encouraged to uphold the highest personal standards such as integrity, respect for others, compassion and service to the wider community. Learn more about our Christian Foundations here.