by: James Scott
It is so amazing how a language can be simple and complicated at the same time. Someone said that money is a language that everyone thinks they know, yet few can actually speak it. At first glance, friendship may appear to be a relationship; however, friendship is not a relationship. Friendship is a connection. When someone says that they have a friend, what they are saying is that they know someone with whom they have made a connection. For example, a couple can be married and not be friends. Siblings can be bound by blood and not be friends. Preachers can love Jesus and not share friendship. Patriots can love America and be divided in politics, thereby nullifying friendship. So it is possible to have many relationships and lack friendship.
What is friendship then? It is a connection. Friendship is not even being together. Being with someone would be companionship. And yet again, companionship can exist without friendship. Being with someone does not necessarily guarantee a connection. A family can sit down together at the dinner table and never say a word to each other. The atmosphere of disconnect can be so thick at that table you could cut it with a knife.
Let me try to illustrate with the electricity. There are two wires necessary to create electricity, the hot wire (current), and the neutral wire (common). There is a third wire that ensures safety (ground). It is actually a trinity! Without the common wire, the current cannot be transferred. So friendship is like that common wire. It allows the power (current) to create a circuit. It allows passion and potential to complete a circuit. It makes the connection. When we meet a stranger on an elevator, we might try to make a connection. So we asked the one question on which we can agree. We ask, “It sure is a sunny day today, is it not?” What are we doing? We are trying to be friendly. No one says, “Well it sure is good to be a Democrat.” In reality, we don’t make friends, we make connections. Mama used to say, birds of a feather flock together. She would go on to say, “You never see a wedge of geese with a turkey in file.”
This leads us to the next question. How do we make friends? Proverbs 18:23 teaches us, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Dr. Jack Hyles explained it this way. “Friendship is not a relationship. It is the glue that holds relationships together.” Maybe that is the stickiness in Proverbs 18:23. Friends can stick closer than brothers. We make friends by making connections. We make friends by connecting common wires.
Recently I was preaching in Florida. A man approached me and said, “James Scott?” I turned to meet a dear friend whom I hadn’t seen for 29 years. We were preacher boys in high school. He asked if he could take me to lunch. In less than one hour we connected with the same connection that we had nearly 30 years ago. Because of our common wires, even three decades could not separate friendship.
Here are a few steps to follow in making friends.
1. Determine your own identity.
2. Never try to be someone else.
3. Do try to be whom God made you to be.
4. Show yourself friendly to everyone.
5. Your identity will attract common identities.
6. Changing identities causes disconnection.
7. Wavering identities confuse relationships.
8. Never try to make friends.
9. Just be a friend.
Some of my best friends are men of God who I may only spend two hours together in a year, and that is because we have a connection in common. In Luke 23:12 it states, “And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.” Two men became friends because they had a common connection. It was to further their political career at the expense of Jesus Christ. Friendship can be good or evil. If you are even reading this, you probably are a friend of mine. Someone said, “It’s good to have a friend. It’s better to be a friend. It’s best to be a friend and have a friend.”
Cornerstone Baptist Church