Good friends give us the freedom to be who we are and to become our best selves. They help to disentangle us from ways of thinking and feeling which hinder us from reaching our full potential. They encourage us to break away from expectations and demands which chain us to an identity that isn’t ours. They believe, and help us to believe, that we can unlock the prison of self-defeating patterns which walls us off from happiness. Real friends never try to dampen-us down, throttle us back, or hem us in.
Love longs for the liberation of the beloved; it desires freedom for a friend. Real friends want one another to experience lighthearted joy—the joy of hearts unshackled from doubt about their worth and unburdened by fear of engaging life.
I hope you have experienced that kind of friendship. It’s a rare and priceless gift.
And, it’s a gift Jesus offers us. On the night before his death, Jesus gathered his followers around him and blessed them with these remarkable words: “You are my friends. . . I do not call you servants any longer. . . I have called you friends.”
The old gospel song got it right: “What a friend we have in Jesus.” He dearly cherishes, deeply values, and wholeheartedly delights in us. He has inexhaustible and unconditional love for us, and he wants us to receive, depend on, and rest in that love. Amazing.