Christine Hoover delivered a message at TGC’s 2021 Women’s Conference titled “Messy Beautiful Friendship: Learning to Love Others in a Christlike Way.” Speaking from her own experiences building friendships—first as a child, then as an adult—Hoover discussed the “wish dream”: the idealized vision of a perfect friendship that too many women embrace. She compared this to the reality of mature, biblical friendship that, despite all its flaws and blemishes, is a priceless gift from God.
She looked at four components of biblical friendships, exemplified by Christ, that women should pursue:
- Focus on giving (serving) and befriending others
- Erase unnecessary restrictions
- Devote yourself to people
- Be vulnerable
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Christine Hoover: I want to welcome those who are watching on the live stream. My name is Christine Hoover. And I have the privilege today to speak to you about friendships, specifically how we can love others. In a Christ-like way, as he has loved us, we can love others. So I want to start today by telling you what I call my friendship story because I expect and suspect that you will find yourself somewhere in it. And it’ll be a good jumping-off point for us. So when I was a child, friendship came easy to me, because I could just show up at the playground, or go to my classroom, and there were my peers, they were my friends. So when I would come home from the park, and my mom would refer to my new friends that I just met there. They were because I was in proximity to them, they were my friends. And that’s typically how it goes in childhood, we are in sport, we’re on sports teams, or we are in a neighborhood and the kids that were around, they are our friends and even into high school and college. The same held true for me and whether you went to college or not you may have experienced similar things that were involved in activities and sports and organizations. And we’re able to spend so much time with our peers, we in college life with our peers. And so friendship just sort of happened to us because we showed up.
And we were living among our peers. But then something weird happens for me something weird called adulthood, I stepped over this invisible line into adulthood. And I didn’t know that that line was there. But I stepped over into it. I graduated from college, I moved to a new city I started working. And I fully expected that friendship in adulthood would look very similar to what friendship has looked like when I was younger. That it would just happen to me. And so I waited for it to happen to me. And I waited, and I waited, and I waited. And it didn’t just happen to me. In fact, for the next eight to 10 years, and my 20s and 30s I got married, I married a man who is in the ministry, he’s a pastor. So I was figuring that out as well. And that’s a whole side issue. But I started having children. But for those eight to 10 years, the difficulty of making and keeping and deepening friendship became one of the most surprising and at times painful things that I experienced in adulthood. And I could not figure out why it had become so difficult. So I remember thinking some of these things. And I wonder if you felt them as well. I remember thinking, I think I’ve forgotten how to make friends.
I’m I felt desperately lonely. But I felt that I was the only one that was struggling with friendships. So something must be wrong with me. I felt insecure and intimidated by other women. So when I would go to church, or I would get a women’s Bible study, anything, anytime that I left anything social, I would just go over everything I said in my mind and everything that other women said to me and think what did she think about me? Why did I say that? And does she like me?
And I also felt frustrated with the other women in my life that were around me. And I thought why don’t they see me? Why don’t they invite me? Why don’t they respond to me the way that I wish that they would? But most of all, I thought, why can’t it be the way that it was when it was so easy, it’s become so difficult. And then in in that time of my life, I picked up a little book that changed everything for me. And that book is called life together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. You may have read it in the beginning he talks about community. And this is the quote that stuck out to me. He says the man or woman who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God by others and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up His own law and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly, when things do not go his way he calls the effort of failure. So he becomes first an accuser of his brethren, then, an accuser of God. And finally, the despairing accuser of himself. That was me. I had been accusing myself. I had been accusing others and above all, I was wondering why God would not give me this good gift that I was asking him for. What stuck out to me in that, quote, were the words visionary ideal. I certainly had a visionary ideal. And I call it the one friend to rule them all. If I could just find that one person who would really get me then I would be good, I would feel belonging and community. And honestly, I’m still prone to this visionary ideal. I want community to be easy. I imagine it as if that you know, other women just kind of come into my home without knocking. And they go to my fridge without asking, get whatever they need, that we stay up late, laughing deep in the night and go on vacations together. And we talk on the phone. Even though I don’t really like to talk on the phone, I always imagine talking on the phone. That’s my visionary ideal, and Bonhoeffer calls this visionary ideal, our wish, dream. Our wish dream and a wish dream is when we have definitive ideas, and very often and the ideal picture in our minds of what friendship or community should look like. And then we try hard to realize it for ourselves. And when when we cannot realize it, we are disappointed, we become disappointed with the reality of what we do have right in front of us, the very real women that God has placed in our lives. That was me and I realized that what I had done in adulthood is I had traded in one immature version of friendship, this idea that friendship is just going to happen to me, I had traded that in for another immature version of friendship, the western, the ideal picture. And so I tell you that story because I want to ask you, what is your idea of friendship? Do you think that it should just happen to you without effort? Or do you have this wish dream, this romanticized ideal that if you could just find that right person or that right group of women that you would finally have what you longed for? Do you find yourself constantly frustrated with the real women in your life. And I use the term romanticize purposefully because I think sometimes friendship is the very last dream to die. The very last dream of ideas that we idealize. So we tend to idealize community way longer in life than we idealize anything else. If we’ve been married for just a few minutes, we realize this romantic, romantic idea that we had of marriage, it’s going to be work, it’s going to be sanctification, but for some reason, we hold on to the friendship ideal longer. Why is that a problem? Because to idealize a person or a friendship or the hope of a person being a friend, and what we think that it should be that is to idealize something, is to idolize something. So if we have an idealistic picture of friendship, we are idolizing it.
And so I want for you today what happened for me when I read that Bonhoeffer book, a light bulb came on, and I realized that I needed to, I needed a biblical idea of friendship, that I needed to engage friendship differently. And I needed to learn that friendship is ideal that there are risks involved, there is messiness involved. And even though it is not ideal, it is a gift that God gives us. So perhaps you need to throw away any immature versions of friendship that you have today. That it can just that it will just happen to you or it will be this idealistic version. And let’s pick up this idea of true biblical friendship. Because when we don’t have a right understanding, we hinder our relationships. So I want to first talk about what is true biblical friendship. And then we’re going to talk through some tools, some practical ways that we can implement friendship in our lives. So first and foremost, friendship is a gift from God, it is friendship began, in the garden with God extending his hand toward Adam and Eve. He sought out their company, the company of those he had created. So if you think about that, the Trinitarian God that he was, he enjoyed community among the Trinity and he wants to share in that fellowship, he wants us to share in that fellowship with Him and so he created man and woman, and he walked with them as friends, he created friendship. And of course, we know what marred that friendship Adam and Eve, they chose to sin.
And even in that God extended friendship further to us that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ. And the Bible says, Greater love has no one than this, then someone would lay down his life for his friends. So the picture of friendships, Jesus laying down His life, so that we can be restored in harmony and peace with God. So now if our faith is in Christ, we walk in companionship with God, our Creator. So think about that. Because if we’ve ever had a wish, stream of friendship, that we would be totally seen, totally loved, unconditionally loved, never being rejected, never abandon never forsaken. This is it. We have friendship through Christ. And that truth has to be the foundation of our understanding of friendship with other people, because God is God, and people are people. So many of our issues and friendship, Arise, I believe because we switch them. And we think people should respond to us as God does, or that God responds to us as people do. And so we try to get our security and our value from other people. And when we do this, the Bible says, we’re asking a broken cistern for a drink, to hold a drink of water for us. That’s what Jeremiah 213 says. And so biblical friendship is securing ourselves to this perfect steadfast love of Jesus. And while holding to that anchor, we can then go and we can give and we can receive love, between others to others. So we give this love and imitation of how Christ has given himself for us. That’s the foundational idea of our friendships. So let’s get practical With that in mind, what are some things that we can do as we secure ourselves to Christ? How can we give and receive this gift of friendship, we’re going to look at four components. And we’re also going to look at how Jesus modeled these things for us. And as you, as we do this, I want you to imagine a funnel. So we’re going to start at the top of the funnel, the wider part of the funnel, and it gets down to the small one at the bottom and the tools that I’m going to give you and talk about today, parallel moving from the top of the funnel to the bottom meaning, where we start, they apply really to all relationships. And as we move further, we’re moving into more of the one or two to three women in our lives that where we have deep relationships. So I want you to keep that in mind as we go. So as we consider giving and receiving the gift of friendship, we first want to consider this is the first point we want to consider. If one of these giving or receiving should be given more weight or focus giving, receiving, which one has more focus. So we want to consider our focus because the answer is that yes, there is a greater weight given and is given to giving. So where does the Bible director focus? Are we to put more weight and emphasis on befriending others or how they befriend us? So we can think about Jesus himself? When does he say I came to serve not to be served? The emphasis for the question is we are to consider how we can love and serve others not spend time dwelling on what others are doing or not doing for us. So we have to constantly reorient this in our minds because our flesh and our wish dreams will pull us towards centering ourselves in friendship. It causes me to think about and to dwell on who is doing what for me and who is inviting me and who is hurting me, rather than where the Bible puts my focus, which is on befriending, loving serving others.
So I think it’s really interesting that Jesus says that it is more blessed to give than to receive. So not only did he model being serving rather than being served, but he says it’s going to be better for you, if you give rather than receive, so why does he say that? And it reminds me of Proverbs 1125 that says, Whoever brings blessing will be enriched and one who waters will himself be watered. So there’s something about giving that the Bible teaches us that is it’s going to be more satisfying and more joyful for us in relationships. If a If our focus is on others, and I think the scripture I used to read proverbs 1125 and think, okay, if I give, then I will get in return the exact same. But scripture indicates something different, that it’s not this exact reciprocal thing. But that there’s some specific happiness and joy that we get by obeying God’s command and showing love to others. So have you ever had a conversation where you feel that God has used you with a friend to encourage them or to comfort them, you are giving of yourself in that moment, and you walk away, and maybe there was no talk of you or what you’re going through. But you feel the peace and satisfaction of knowing that the Holy Spirit has used you to benefit your friends. I think that’s what Jesus is talking about. When he says it’s, it’s more blessed to give than to receive there is a specific joy in giving. And loving others double that joy. So not only is it a blessing for the one that we love, but it gives us joy in doing it. So the blessing is in giving. So in friendship, putting more weight on receiving or thinking of ourselves, that’s only going to make us better. And it’s going to make us unable to actually receive what Thanksgiving what friendship is, is being offered our way. So one way practically, that we can think about this putting weight more on giving them than receiving is to consider how we think of ourselves as a there you are a person. And what I mean by that is when we enter a room or we enter a conversation, or we’re engaged with someone, think about being very you are I see you,
I come toward you, I’m going to ask you about this, because a lot of times in our insecurity, we enter rooms, and we think here I am, Will anyone see me? I hope they come toward me, I hope they asked me about this specific thing. And we’re very wrapped up in mentally in our minds, and we’re not going toward others. So be a very you are a person. Everyone desires to be seen and known and loved. And so we have countless opportunities to seek to serve rather than be served just like our Jesus. The second point is, as we’re moving down that funnel, we want to erase unnecessary restrictions and race unnecessary restrictions. So I grew up in Texas, which you may know is famous for oil and cattle. And some of our family friends raised cattle and they had a bunch of lands. And of course, the land is fenced off. But any family that owns cattle, they have to get into their property without the cows getting out. Does anybody know what they do? If the gate gets open, they still can’t get out because they put cattle guards down underneath the gate. So if the gate blows open, cattle can’t get out because they won’t walk across the cattle guard. So that restriction is there keeps them in. And I think sometimes we restrict our relationships from developing into friendships, in the same way that those cattle guards restrict the cattle. We keep ourselves fenced in. And our two main ways I would say we do this. One is through expectations. We have expectations of both who we would consider a potential friend, and how they will respond to us as we get to know them. To be honest, I’ve had many times where I’ve gone I thought, Oh, this person could be a friend and I sit down with them over coffee and the conversation is just kind of and I leave and I’m like, Okay, well, that didn’t work. Because I had expectations of how that should go. I had expectations of how she should be with me. The second thing that we do to restrict ourselves unnecessarily is we make assumptions about other women. So we decide who they are before we get to know them. So an example, often my husband’s a pastor in our church, and often the older woman will come to me and I’ll say, hey, there’s this young woman, she needs to be disciplined. And she’ll say, I don’t I probably have nothing to offer her. And then the younger women are over saying, Oh, I don’t know what I’m doing. I really wish an older woman would spend time with me. But they probably don’t want anything to do with me. So you see the assumption that keeps them separated. I just want to say, no come together. We need each other. But also assumptions can come into play when we think we decide what people think of us. And so it creates insecurity. in our, in our minds, this is one of the problems as I look back into the days I talked to you about earlier about my adult my early adulthood. This was one of my problems. I couldn’t figure out why my relationships weren’t forming into friendships, that I can look back now and see that God was actually trying to give me what I was asking him for. There are multiple women in my life. I remember going to the pool and running into a friend who had kids, an acquaintance, that who had kids my age, and we had a really good conversation. And I never followed up on that conversation, because I had expectations of what my one friend to rule them all would be like, and she wasn’t it. I think about an older mom in the church who asked me, I had Mother’s Day out one day a week, and I would drop off my kids. And she asked me to go to coffee.
And I said, I have errands to run, I can’t go What? Like I don’t have friends. And she’s asking me to do something. And I again, assume because she’s older that this would not be potential friends.
So I had those expectations and assumptions. And do you see how they that insecurity and pride kept me from those relationships forming into friendships? So it’s important that we combat our fleshly assumptions and expectations because our Lord Jesus never engaged in relationships or conversations in a demanding way. He engaged in conversations in an inviting way. Think about the Samaritan woman at the well, he, he knew her. And he spent already and he spent time with her getting to know her and inviting her to follow him. And so that’s what I want us to see that the way we combat these, these restrictions is by developing understanding, being an understanding person, how do we do that proverbs 18 two says, a fool has no delight and understanding, but only in expressing his own heart. So this verse tells us that understanding is the opposite of expressing our own hearts. So understanding means listening and learning about other women. So have you ever you know, there’s someone in your life that may be you know, they’re an acquaintance, you’ve known who they were for maybe a couple years, and you see them and you know their name. But then somehow you got into a conversation and you started really talking, and you realize, you had no idea who she was, you realize that there are so many fascinating things about her. And you had decided in your mind who she was before you actually knew her. And when you actually got to know her, you were thinking, you were kicking yourself that you had wasted time not getting to know her. This is the kind of understanding that I’m talking about, that we want to be open to conversations with women to listen and to learn, and to make those connections because the connection is what happens when we develop understanding. So how do we develop understanding practically? It’s really simple. We practice asking good questions of others. And when we ask them, we listen to what they say, one of my pet peeves about being a pastor’s wife, but somebody will say what is it like to be a pastor’s wife? And then before I can even really finish, they tell me what they think it’s like, like, No, you don’t know. You don’t understand. So listen, ask questions. And then listen. And I don’t mean that we’re busybodies. And we just get all the facts and the details. And we want to, you know, we’re just digging and digging. I mean, we want to show interest in other people. It’s a way of honoring people. say if you are creative, you don’t want to say this out loud. But you’re created by God and God. He’s written a story with your life. And I want to know what that is. And so I’m going to spend time knowing trying to know you. It expresses value and honor. And so the best question, this is a question you can just put right in your tool belt. The best question it’s actually not a question. I’m sorry. It’s a statement. Tell me more about what it’s like for you on a daily basis to raise a child with special needs. Tell me more about how your faith impacts your singleness. What’s challenging for you in it? What’s a gift in it for you? Tell me more about your work and why You’re drawn to that field and what you love about it. Do you see how those questions they?
They go deeper? And I may have made you uncomfortable with those questions, does that make you uncomfortable to think you want me to press in there? Yes, I do. I want us to be willing to be awkward and uncomfortable with one another. So that we can honor one another, showing interest in one another. So be willing to take the conversation deeper in your relationships. Okay, as we move to the third point, I want to remind you of the funnel illustration that we’re moving from the wide to deeper, we’re moving to deeper, more intimate friendship. And I’ve used the word relationship and friendship and I want to make a distinction because they are distinct relationships are could be anything from the mailman, to someone you go to church with, to a family member relationships can cover a lot of things and in the things that I’ve already talked about, showing honor, in our interaction, seeking to serve others, we can do that in any relationship, and we should, that’s what the Bible teaches us to do. But as we extend ourselves out to others, some of that will be returned, we pray by God’s grace that he would give us friends and that the distinction between a relationship and a friendship is mutuality. So look for mutuality. mutuality doesn’t mean we receive back the exact thing that we’ve given, but it means that someone is extending in return the understanding, wanting to know wanting to understand they’re initiating in some form with us. That’s friendship, and friendship takes time to discern. It takes time to develop. But we know it’s friendship when there is mutuality. I think that’s an important distinction because we sometimes get the idea that we can be friends with a lot of people because we’re friends with them online, or, you know, whatever. But friendship is reserved, the deep friendship that I’m going to be in timeout is reserved, really, for a handful of people, if, if you have more than that, then you are very blessed. So we’ve said one, consider our focus to erase unnecessary restrictions. And the third thing is, I want to encourage you to be devoted to people, devoted to people. So once again, we want to turn to Jesus and see how he structured his life. And recall how when he was traveling and preaching, the crowds were pressing in on him, and he was exhausted. And even in those times, he made time for people and especially for his disciples, his closest friends, who were devoted to relationships above all else, his relationship with his father and relationship with others. So one day I asked you, what are you devoted to? What characterizes your life? If someone said, What are you could answer, what are you devoted to? What would they say? Listen for what the early church full of the Holy Spirit was devoted to and acts to. They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. So they were devoted to God, and they were devoted to togetherness. So in order to enjoy the gift of friendship, as God gives it, we too must be consistently devoted to the people that God has given us in our lives. And being devoted, takes commitment. The early church experience a lot of times we read that, or at least I do, and I just think, honestly, I think that’s a wish dream. It sounds perfect. It sounds ideal. But it wasn’t they were real people just like us. They had jobs. They had kids, they had suffering, they had struggles. They had time commitments. So just as it is for us, it was for them. It’s a choice. It was a choice. It was a commitment. And it requires perseverance in relationships, because we are imperfect people.
I am and you are. And so we have to know that godly friendship in our adult years is not going to develop or be maintained through convenience. It will only happen through dogged commitment to people. Because convenience doesn’t anchor us when we get annoyed or hurt by a friend. We get annoyed with them or hurt by them. Commitment does. Convenience does not mesh with the burdens and time constraints of daily life but commitment Does and convenience doesn’t require effort but commitment does. And so what would it look like for us practically to be devoted to relationships and to friendships specifically, I think it means that people are prioritized over tasks and activities, and entertainment and online connection. I was just talking to someone earlier today that I had things switched for a time in my life that I was much more focused online than I was the people in my real life that is not devotion to the relationship. But what has helped me to be devoted to friendship, specifically, is not just to be devoted to people in general about tasks and things but to be devoted to specific people. And what I mean by that is, I this is going to sound a little weird, but I sometimes write in my prayer journal, the names of the people that God has made clear or to be priorities in my life. And that could be everything from my husband, to my children, but specifically friendship. Because friendships so easily gets pushed to the backburner. And I have to remind myself, these are people that God has placed in my life. And it may be a neighbor who doesn’t know Jesus, it may be a woman that I am to disciple that I am discipling, it may be a mentor, but it definitely includes who are the friends in my life, that I know through time and discernment that God wants me to cultivate this friendship because they encouraged my faith. Maybe they challenged my faith. So I write their names down, and I don’t write their names down to say, this is my exclusive circle, and no one else may may join my list. But I write it down so that I know I can discern if I’m stewarding those friendships, am I giving them the devotion and the time that I know God is asking me to give them? And if not, what do I need to change in order to do that? And finally, I think being devoted to friendship means making time for togetherness, just like the early church did. And in our day, this takes so much creativity and effort, doesn’t it? Well, and I’m not even talking about COVID, I’m talking about just daily life have after work or before work, or there’s children running around. Or if you’re a single mom, you know, how do you gather with, with other with friends. And I would just tell you, I don’t know the answer for your life. But I would say whatever it takes, get creative. Get up really early and, and meet with a friends before the kids get up. Be willing to stay up late, even if you’re an introvert like me, and you just want to put on your pajamas at 5pm. Keep on your clothes, and then go and meet your friends out, even though you’re tired, because what you will find is that you’re putting deposits in your friendship bank. And over time, you will experience the richness of those friendships, that it takes commitment, and it takes effort. Okay, we’re going to move to the fourth point. And as we move to that tip of the funnel, as you practice these things in your life, you will find yourself with by God’s grace, a few deep friendships, what’s going to get you there and what is going to help you fuel those friendships, the deep friendships that we all desire. That’s my fourth tool. And it’s vulnerability. It requires vulnerability. So I want you to practice vulnerability. And when I say practice, I mean practice because vulnerability is difficult. And what I mean by vulnerability is not just gushing out every emotion and thought to everyone that you meet without discretion. vulnerability is sharing on an emotional and spiritual level with a trustworthy person. I’m going to say that, again, vulnerability is sharing on an emotional and spiritual level with a trustworthy person.
So we often don’t have a problem sharing with other others what God has done in the past. We can, any story that’s wrapped in a bow, we don’t mind sharing that he’s restored our marriage or he’s healed us from addiction. And that’s an important part of friendship is just knowing one another stories, but vulnerability is concerned with the present. What is happening now? And those are often the things that we feel the most uncertain about. That we have doubt that we feel insecure and that’s why It is difficult to share with other people, it feels very risky to do. And guess what it is risky. vulnerability is risky. But as Christians, there is a purpose in our vulnerability with trustworthy people. Because our sharing is a request for others to join us and to help us and whatever we’re navigating. So we’re asking for the Ministry of the comfort of the help of truth. And it is a very biblical practice, to express vulnerability in our friendships. Because if you think about all the one another’s in Scripture, just whatever comes to mind, forgive one another, bear with one of those burdens. All of those one another’s, they require vulnerability, how do we bear the burden of a friend unless we know what the burden is? And how can they bear with us if they don’t know what ours is? So I love that Galatians, six to bear one another’s burdens and fulfill the law of Christ. Here’s another James 516, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. That’s very vulnerable. But God says when we do that in relationship with others with our trustworthy friends, that he uses that to heal us. So vulnerability isn’t just sharing about difficult things, vulnerability in the one another. in Scripture, they also encourage positive things like rejoice with one another, rejoice with those who rejoice, encourage one another edify one another with your gifts. it sometimes takes vulnerability to even do that to be intentional in our encouragement. But I want you to consider that anytime you’ve been vulnerable. It may not have gone exactly the way you hoped. But vulnerability leads to connection. And that’s what we’re going for is connection. And this I would say is another thing I got so wrong for so long. Because I was so afraid, and I was shielding my insecurities from others. I was more intent on impressing other women than I was connecting with other women. So impressing is about image and perfection and performing, but the connection is about relationship and vulnerability. And there again, is the inherent risk, vulnerability is risky, what is the risk? What is the risk, we can be hurt, we can be rejected, misunderstood, overlooked, and I would imagine, every one of you in this room has experienced that in friendship
I have. And the truth is that we absolutely will experience that and friendship, we will hurt. We will be hurt. We will misunderstand. We will be misunderstood. So as you consider your wish stream a few minutes ago, did you leave room and your definition and your idea of what friendships should be did you leave room for difficulty and pain? We have to know that friendship is going to involve imperfection, every relationship we’re in is going to have difficulty. And in fact, I in my experience, I have found that a deep lat lifelong friendship is often solidified by walking through difficulty in adversity together and being willing to address that with one another. This is the way of Jesus He taught us how to do this. He said, confess your sins, repent, forgive and be restored. This is the pattern that he gave us to be in relationship with one another. So we have to embrace that there will be difficulties in our friendships. Otherwise, we will pull out and we will stop engaging the very community that God has created us for. And we will miss one of the reasons that God wants us in that community and that is our sanctification. So this was a lesson I learned the hard way and that in my book, messy, beautiful friendship. I actually wrote a chapter with a former neighbor of mine. And she was also a fellow church member. And we tell both sides of the same story regarding our friendship, how she compared herself with me and how I made assumptions about her and how our friendship eventually fractured. And why did it fractures because I wanted to avoid the iron sharpening iron that I experienced in relationship with her. We had so much we had to work through and by God’s grace, we did In fact, that’s how we could write that chapter together. And I learned through her that God specifically had placed her in my life, not to be an irritant, but to be a mirror to my own heart, so that I could grow and change and be more Christ-like, and I didn’t like it, it was painful. But part of deep friendship is sanctification. And that is a gift for us that God uses to sanctify and to grow us. So in all of our friendships, we will hurt and we will be hurt. But we can engage the difficulties of friendship. Only when we rest on the truth that I said at the very beginning, that Jesus alone is the perfect friend, and he is to you. He sees you. He knows the hurts that you have in relationships, he loves you. He is a companion to you, you’re never alone. He is the perfect friend. And so as we close, let’s consider him again and how he loves. What is Jesus’ way because his way is to be our way? Jesus knew the cost of loving us. And he knew that we would hurt him. And we did. But he became vulnerable anyway, making himself killable. So that we could be reconciled to the Father and know true love. And he also enables us by His Spirit, to follow him in practice, to love others as he loved us. So following in his way, all the things we’ve talked about today, laying ourselves down for the blessing of others, being devoted to people, seeking to know and understand others and making ourselves vulnerable in relationships with trusted friends. That is following in Jesus’s way. And that’s a way of love and life, and joy. And it’s the way of biblical friendship. Let me pray for us as we end. And then I have a quick announcement for you before you go. God, I thank you for the gift of friendship that you are our friend. What a gift and a blessing to be able to say that that we are friends with the God who created us because of Jesus Christ. What a gift and we receive that now just I pray for women who are hurting, that you administer to them as the deepest friend could. And Lord in our friendships, help us to, to love as you have loved and to receive the specific blessing and joy of looking to serve rather than be served.
Help us in the difficulties we face in our specific friendships. Give us our next steps direct our steps of how we can love in that situation. And for those who are lonely, I ask that you would bring other women into their lives, who can be a blessing to them and encouragement to them. Thank you, Jesus. In your name, we pray. Amen.