But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
I still have a special place in my heart for my childhood friends of long ago. Hours spent playing in my best friends’ treehouse, playing Barbie dolls, going to the corner store to buy 5 cent candies, having a myriad of sleepovers, and playing at the playground with school friends.
There are many things my parents taught me about friendship that I want to pass on to my children. Though they are still very young, I want to teach these things to them early so that, by God’s merciful grace, these character traits will become a part of who they are. The advice of my parents is the advice I want to give to my children as they begin a new school year today.
The Lord is Your Shepherd and Best Friend
The Lord Jesus is the one who will lead and guide you. You will not lack anything. Place your trust and faith in Him and ask Him for what you need. He will supply everything you need. You will never be alone and He will walk those hallways with you. He goes before you to prepare the path for you. He is already providing for you before you even ask Him for help.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:2
Be a Friend.
As you go to school and see all your old friends, enjoy those friendships and thank Jesus for them! As well, remember that there are new kids at the school who may be nervous about their first day there and really need someone to reach out to them and be their friend too. There may be kids who are feeling left out or forgotten about. So take Nana’s advice to me when I was a child and go find those who need a friend and be their friend too. Keep your eyes on Jesus and your hands reaching out to serve others.
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. Proverbs 27:9
Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. Proverbs 21:21
Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:3-4
Its always our turn to love others.
There may be days at school when friends might say insensitive or unkind things. There may be days when you do the same. There may be days when you feel alone. Just like Papa Loewen told me as I was growing up, its always our turn to forgive. Its always our turn to love and serve others. So trust in Jesus that when you love and serve others, you are really doing this for Jesus. And if you say something unkind, talk to your friend and apologize. Saying, “I’m sorry” are two of the best words to nurture your friendships.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” Matthew 25:35
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” Luke 6:37
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
“We’ll be friends forever, won’t we Pooh?” asked Piglet.
“Even longer,” Pooh answered.
Friendship is like a garden. You must be willing to go out into that garden and care for it, removing the weeds, trimming the plants, planting new seeds, and working hard to make it beautiful. One of my favorite portraits of friendship is that of A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories. I wish for my children to have honest and kind friendships like the animals of those stories. But even more so, I want my children to look to Jesus as the greatest example of friendship and selfless love. It is in Jesus that we find our greatest joy, affirmation, approval, acceptance and eternal friendship.
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.