Friend (part 3)

Matthew 11:19 – The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and ‘sinners.’” 

James 4:4-10 – Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts,you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. 

  • Reflect On: James 4:4-10
  • Praise God: For drawing near to us.
  • Offer Thanks: For the ways God has humbled you, making you more open to His grace.
  • Confess: Any patterns of pride in your life.
  • Ask God: Ask God to show you areas in your life that require greater humility. 

A couple of years ago I read My First White Friend, the compelling story of African-American writer Patricia Raybon’s struggles to stop hating white people. At the core of her book is an experience she had in junior high. Excluded by the all-white student body, her sense of alienation was at least partially healed when one of the white students befriended her. My own transitions seemed easy by comparison. The passage below is from a letter she wrote but never sent to Kerry Monroe, the girl who crossed the playground to become her first white friend: 

“You were blonde and, truthfully, pretty. And always so happy. And up close your dazzling brightness—and thatperky, bubbly effervescence: like a white champagne that wouldn’t go flat—was otherworldly. TV didn’t prepare me for my first white friend. TV primed me, in fact, to hate anybody who looked anything like you…But you were saving me. And I watched you, talking to me and laughing matter-of-factly on that playground, and I could have knelt down on the ground and held you tightly, and let the gratitude wash over me, even while I wanted not to need your human kindness. At fourteen, I couldn’t admit I needed it. Even now, I’m supposed to dismiss your little niceness. I can even hear in my head, as I did then, the memory of the practiced put-downs: White girls—they so phony…. But, Kerry, here’s the thing: After all these years, I have to say it. Thank you. Thank you, Kerry Monroe. This thing you did was a full thing. A God thing, maybe.”

“A God thing, maybe”—a Christ thing, certainly. Like Kerry Monroe crossing that playground to make friends with Patricia Raybon, Jesus took the first step toward us, basing his offer of friendship not on a set of shared interests or on mutual admiration—the usual basis for friendship—but solely on his love.

But there’s a catch: None of us will ever be attractive enough, good enough, or successful enough to warrant his friendship. Paradoxically, it is only by exposing the brokenness inside us that we can be admitted to this friendship. Because Jesus is only and always a friend of sinners, of people who are broken enough to know their need. 

As you seek to deepen your friendship with Christ, ask for the grace to expose your brokenness to him. Let Jesus probe you and was you and reveal to you any ways in which you may be compromising your relationship with him by making friends with this world. Then stick close to him by cultivating the virtue of humility, letting him decide when and how to lift you up.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *