Recently, Jeff and I enjoyed the opportunity of walking around the neighborhood with our three precious granddaughters along with our daughter and son-in-law. I must have been walking behind the girls at one point, causing Olivia to slow her pace, look up, smile at me, and state, “I’ll be your friend.” She then began walking alongside me, taking my hand. Immediately, Jeff and I locked eyes, and I knew the subject of my next blog…our best friend.

Who is your best friend? Who hears your heart first? Who can’t you wait to contact in order to share your latest victory or defeat? Understandably, if you are female, you have several (minimum of one or two) close friends who are privileged to embark upon your adventures as well as tragedies…if only in their minds. They engage in the experience as you elaborate upon every detail, pouring your heart out verbally, appreciating either their intense enthusiasm or their great pain and anguish…whichever is appropriate to the encounter! Possibly, if you are male, you have a close friend other than your spouse who enjoys a much tidier, simplified version of your encounter, unlike the elaborate description of your female counterpart. However, it is not uncommon for a man to consider his wife as his closest friend, as men are not designed quite as emotional as their wives, instead constructed more as private, logical thinkers. So again, here lies the question…

Who is your best friend?

Maybe we should take a moment and unpack the meaning of a friend. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 Here, Jesus describes a friend with intense measures, including love and giving one’s life. Though Paul was clear with his job description for husbands in Ephesians 5, reminding them to love their wives sacrificially, as Christ did, giving His life, that is a subject for another occasion. Right now I want us to focus on the love portion of the verse in John. Since we are looking at this from a Biblical view, let’s review another scripture in order to clarify the meaning of love.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
— 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

We might as well start from the beginning…patience. I recently read an intriguing description of patience. It is simply the act of moving one’s pace to match the other’s pace. Pretty simple isn’t it! In other words, whether it is making a decision, walking, talking, getting ready to go out, taking a new direction in life, or simply choosing a movie, we make the decision to take it at our friend’s pace instead of ours. That means taking a breath, and relaxing instead of taking the electronic device mumbling, “Let me do it!”. It isn’t natural for any of us to move at another’s pace, so love requires intentional decisions…decisions not to be self-seeking, not to dishonor our best friend by requiring them to change in order to be bestowed with our friendship. I think I need to take that breath, change gears, and relax at times, manifesting love instead of simply uttering the words. How about you?

Let’s look at one more…kindness. If you want to destroy a relationship fast, just try being unkind a few times! I looked to the thesaurus for a variety of words for “unkind”. It really wasn’t pleasant…heartless, mean, uncaring, unfeeling, spiteful, malicious, coldhearted. Wow, would any of us describe ourselves using these terms? Yet, do we always seek to be helpful and considerate, placing the needs of our best friend before our own needs and desires? I’m not there yet either, but this is coming straight from God’s Word, so I don’t think we have a choice but to be intentional about changing our habits.

Now let’s review. I began stating I was going to write about our best friend. So, I ask the question one more time, “Who is your best friend?” Is there anyone who deserves your love and kindness more than your spouse? If you said yes to that question, let’s get together and discuss it over a Diet Pepsi (I don’t do coffee or tea!). We honestly might be struggling in our obedience to “love”, but let’s at least recognize that no earthly relationship should be closer than that of our spouse. And…let’s commit to recognize our unloving and unkind behaviors, followed by an intentional effort to counteract them with sacrificial and unconditional affection. We might just get the home fires burning! And by the way, that’s where they need to be burning…in your home, with your spouse! (Another subject for another day.)

I’d like to ask two more questions.

  • Is your spouse certain he/she is your best friend?
  • Does your spouse consider you as his/her best friend?

If not, start today changing that relationship…

It’s never too late to make a new best friend!

Debbie Earnest
Immanuel Baptist Church Marriage Ministry