20150501-Chapman-MeCentered

The “bestie” seems to have evolved and thankfully opened “best-friendship” from a two-person relationship to as many people as you wish to give the honor.

My much-younger sister has many “besties” and “seesters.” But when I was growing up, there was clearly one spot, and you either had it or you didn’t. All other friends were subsequently named in place-order — second-best friend, and third-best friend, etc., and occasionally the order would be announced on the playground in conversation, reminding the rest of us.

I spent the majority of my childhood being the “second-best friend.” There were days I longed to be first-best friend, but I soon nestled in to the comfy spot of second. Second-best friend came with fewer responsibilities, and I talked myself into believing it was the way to go. No pressure.

A friend I was a second-best friend to in high school had a friend pass away, and I remember thinking that it was certainly the first-best friend’s job to be there for her.

When a friend broke up with their boyfriend, I didn’t need to give the advice. I was content to put all the responsibility off on someone else. But, it turns out, that’s not what we are supposed to do.

The Bible has much to say about friendships and how we are supposed to care for them, and none of the commands involve leaving it to someone else.

In Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, we are told that it’s better not to be alone, because with friends, “if either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

When a friend is going through a crisis, we can’t leave it up to someone else to help them through it. We have to help. There are ways for us to help them up, even if it doesn’t solve their problem. It can be as simple as meeting them for coffee and letting them pour their heart out over a latte.

“Helping the other up” can come in many forms — babysitting when they are in a bind, fixing a meal when they are sick, or offering a ride when their car is being repaired.

In 1 Corinthians 10:24, Paul instructs us not to seek our own good, “but the good of others.” Because we can easily be a selfish people, and it isn’t pretty.

God’s way is not “me-centered,” but nearly always centered on others. When staying at home in our jammies feels more enticing than meeting our upset friend at her house to share what’s going on, we go anyway. That is how we seek the good of our friend.

In John 15:13, Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” That kind of makes coffee pale in comparison, doesn’t it?

Ultimately, we do what our friends need, and we show them the love of Jesus.

If you are struggling with being that friend, join me in praying for God to let His love be seen through the way we selflessly serve our friends. Let’s ask Him to show us how to be that friend today.

Related: Send a friend a note of encouragement with these beautiful notecards, and tell her what a blessing she is in your life.

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  • Kimmygirl

    Beautiful reminder this morning- Thanks for a wonderful post!

  • Lois Flowers

    Thank you for sharing this, Jennifer. I know what it’s like to be the second-best friend, so I can imagine the courage it takes to talk about it in this way. You’re right … when it comes to friends in need, it’s not about us; it’s about them.

  • G. Bateman

    Thank you. It can be painful to go through difficult things and watch so many of your friends make that assumption that another of your friends is coming alongside you to be what you need at that time. When we lost a little girl just hours after she was born a year and a half ago. I assumed that many friends went silent because it was too difficult a subject for them to talk about… either too painful or too awkward. But now I realize that many just thought that there might be others who would be taking care of us and were afraid they might be a nuisance. What I want people to realize is that even if you think you might be or that someone else has your friend covered, ask anyway. Chances are, they needed what you might be able to offer. It’s so difficult to go through tough things when on top of all it, you wonder what happened to all the friends you had. I actually found that there were a couple friends who I assume knew they weren’t my closest friend before our loss, yet they swooped in to care for us anyway, and I’ve come out of it with a deeper appreciation and closeness for/with them as a result. Friendship can be tricky and delicate even when crisis or suffering is not involved. All the more when it is. I’m glad you shared your thoughts about it. I hope many took it to heart and will remember the words here when they next see a friend in need. I know I will, so I appreciate the reminder. Even having gone through something that gave me first-hand experience, it’s easy to sit back and assume someone else has it covered… and I don’t want to do that.

  • Beth Williams

    Jennifer,
    I may not be someone’s best friend, but take my cue from Jesus. I will almost always be the first to rush in with help. Hearing of a problem, major or minor, I want to do something. Last year I cooked meals for a good friend who had family in hospital a lot, got food together for an elderly neighbor who lost her young son, sent money anonymously to people going through trials. My God given gift is encouragement so I want you to know that I care–maybe I don’t understand the trial, but I care!!
    Blessings :)