Did you know a synonym for kindness is friendship?
the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
characteristic of or befitting a friend; showing friendship:a friendly greeting.
like a friend; kind; helpful:a little friendly advice.
favorably disposed; inclined to approve, help, or support:a friendly bank.
not hostile or at variance; amicable:
I learned this little synonym fact teaching a kids Bible class how we could use the fruits of the Spirit to help us know how to pray.
I started asking myself this question: Do we need to be friends with our brothers and sisters in the church?
Why is it that showing friendship is sometimes hard for us? Why is it that we want to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit, but it does not come naturally? Small acts of kindness sounds so simple, but small acts of friendship doesn’t sound as simple. How do we take friendship into our communities and imitate God’s kindness? We are going to need His Spirit to help us share that fruit.
Lord, help me to be kind to those who know you and to those who don’t. Let me be a friend to those who are easy to show care for and also to those who are challenging to show care towards. Amen.
The problem I encounter in my heart when I think about showing friendship as a fruit of the Spirit is that friendship sounds deeper than kindness. I want to pick and choose who I show friendship to. This is me struggling with the sin of partiality. When I pull back from showing friendship to my brothers and sisters, I am either wanting something out of my effort or I am trying to protect myself by withholding vulnerability.
Lord, help me to see your image in all of my brothers and sisters. Help me to not put a premium on friendship with the wealthy or people who look like me. Help me to be vulnerable enough to hold friendship out to others without the instinct to protect myself or use friendship to get ahead in life. This friendship is though you as a fruit of your Spirit so I know you will help me. Today help me to go deeper in relationships and commit a random act of friendship. Amen.
I’ve been reading the book Anatomy of the Soul, and it explains how brain science teaches us that we were made for community. We need to be kind to others, and we need them to be kind to us. We need to see our brothers and sisters as friends, and we need to be treated friendly in return.
Anatomy of the Soul also teaches that what we need is a few very close friends that we can trust with all of our story. This isn’t everyone in our church community, but we need to be really known by a few people to help us process our story.
It is hard work making friends, going deep with people, going deep with God, being kind in our church community, being friendly to our family, letting others know us, but we need it. We can’t go it alone and accomplish anything as the church. Alone we are just one body part of the body. We need each other to serve and to be healthy.
What about you? Do you struggle with friendship in your community? You are not alone, but I pray we can begin to show love through tangible acts of kindness and friendship.