"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God."
~I John 4:7
Today's Devotional Thought October 18, 2011 by Rachel Piferi
The "How" of Meaningful Friendships
Yesterday, Wendy and I had the opportunity to speak about friendship on the Charlotte View 2011 Radio program. This is a topic that we are very interested in for a variety of reasons. First, we are both women and know what it feels like to find a trusted friend. We have experienced abundant friendship and have learned through experience what some of the components of a healthy friendship are. Second, we both have seen the importance of friendship through our careers. I have seen it through my research in Psychology and Wendy has seen it in ministry. In both research and ministry, we have repeatedly seen the joys and sadness that friendships can bring to women's lives. They can certainly be sources of true joy, but also sources of such betrayal and hurt.
When I transitioned from academic research to ministry, I really saw the scientific research come to life. I met and talked with real women who had real friendship woes. And as I would talk with women, I started reflecting on all of the research that we have done in the field of Psychology. And one day it just hit me that all of the research that the field of Psychology has been publishing on relationships can be found quite plainly in the Bible. In fact, there is no better guidebook of how to treat friendships than the Bible. Jesus was very clear about how we should treat each other and how we could have the most abundant relationships with others. We just have to read what he says throughout the New Testament, understand it, and then do what he says. As I really started studying what the Bible says about relationships, I found that science is just slowly confirming what Jesus told us thousands of years ago. Forgiveness, gratitude, giving to others...research today is showing that they are all good for us. And, Jesus already said that!
I am amazed at the true guidance for relationships that the Bible provides to us. In our interview yesterday, we discussed how putting God at the center of your relationships will give you the best chance for rich, satisfying relationships with others.
Establishing close, ongoing friendships is something that every woman wants and I would argue we need for life. But, unfortunately, few know how to find, maintain, and keep good godly friendships. Understanding the importance of perspective taking, loyalty, selflessness, respect, honesty, and patience to see a relationship through the tough times is important to attaining the connections all women desire and need.
We enjoyed talking about friendships yesterday. Please listen to our interview as we talk about healthy friendships: how to get them, how to sustain them, and how to enjoy them.