You’re closer to her than just about anyone. You have practically EVERYTHING in common. You confide in one another about things you wouldn’t dare tell another soul. You feel more like sisters than friends, and you’d do anything for her. She is your best friend. Or is she?
When I was in high school, I was involved in an extremely dysfunctional dating relationship. There were times when we were on top of the world, and there were other times when we would break up and I’d swear that I’d never let myself be hurt by him again. And naturally, who do you think I turned to every time I found myself lost, hurt, and broken? My best friend, of course. You see, there was a reason I turned to her over anyone else: she ALWAYS took my side. Here’s what I mean. If I said “I am done with this”, “I’m never going back”, or “I’ve had enough”, she was right by my side, wiping my tears, telling me, “You’re so much better than this”, “I’m proud of you”, and “It will be okay, you are worth so much more”. Then there were the times where inevitably my boyfriend and I would end up back together and I’d say, “People just don’t get it but that is my soulmate, I love him and I know this has all happened for a reason”, and she’d hug me tight and say, “I understand, you really are perfect for each other, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks”. You see, she too was engulfed in dysfunction of her own, and just as she’d do for me, I would do for her. We embodied very definition of enabling. You love him? Me too. You hate him? I never liked him anyway. And at the time, I thought, this is what a best friend does. They make you feel better no matter what decisions you make.
But I realized something as I grew older and deeper into my relationship with Christ: friendship, I mean TRUE friendship, isn’t always comfortable. Condoning isn’t loving, and enabling is not encouraging. Sometimes your best friend isn’t the one at the party dancing by your side, encouraging you to drink more and “let loose”. Sometimes your best friend is the one who picks you up after a night of regret that she warned you against, and sits by your side crying with you as the tears she tried her hardest to prevent fall from your eyes. She’s the one who prays over you when your world is falling apart, and reminds you of your worth in Christ when you can’t seem to remember. She’s the one that holds you accountable, but never says, “I told you so”. It’s a true sisterhood. A covenant. It’s a relationship that pushes you to be the best version of yourself, without envy, or competition. Its real, its raw, and its sacred. It doesn’t always make you feel comfortable, but it ALWAYS makes you feel loved.
May we not only strive to have these friends, but may we strive to BE these friends. Because at the end of the day, we are here to love, to strengthen, to empower, to comfort, to listen, to encourage, and to show the love AND truth of Christ — no matter what.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. -John 15:12-15