GODLY MAN & HIS FRIENDS, PART-B
This week we are going to continue on with our study concerning friendship. Last week we tried to look at the pitfalls that can come about when a man tries to isolate himself.
Several years ago studies were conducted among former American POW’s to determine what methods used by the enemy had been most effective in breaking their spirit. The findings revealed that they did not break down from physical deprivation and torture as quickly as they did from solitary confinement. Attempts to get the prisoners divided in their attitudes toward one another proved to be the most successful method of discouraging them.
The soldiers drew their greatest strength from the close attachments they had formed to the small military units to which they belonged. These observations help us understand why Christians men need fellowship with other Christian men. We simply cannot allow the enemy to isolate us, divide us, or get us so busy that we do not spend quality time pursuing and building relationships with other men. Talk about opening up, taking risks.
Ever wonder why ladies can get together or call and talk to each other at the drop of a hat with no particular agenda or need to convene, while us men typically have to have a specific reason for getting together for fellowship? Why is that? Michelle calling a friend to get together versus me! Men have to know what is going on? What is wrong!
I think a big part of it is accurately captured by David Smith, author of The Friendless American Male, when he writes: Very early in life, little boys receive the cultural message that they’re not supposed to show emotions. Expressing feelings is generally a taboo for males. Boys soon learn to dread the words, “Don’t be a sissy; Big boys don’t cry; Aren’t you a little too old to be sitting on your Daddy’s lap? Other messages come through loud and clear—Boys have to learn to be men. And to be a man means you conceal your emotions.
Author Kenny Luck says, as men, we all from time to time (if not all the time) tend to:
Hide and mask anger Internalize pressure Bury losses
Deny being wounded Withdraw from hard truth Push people away
Fear failure Perceive openness as weakness Harbor secrets
Ignore the facts Deceive ourselves Close off to others
Deflect mistakes Blame others Hide struggles
Now, I think we can go too far, too fast with other men in the revealing of our emotions. Dick Vermeil! And boys do need to grow up to be men. But being a man does not mean concealing your emotions all the time. Genuine transparency to a few trusted, Christian male friends is an integral part of being on your way to becoming a Godly man.
Such transparencies in relationships are rare, and we could go to several man-to-man friendships in scripture, but none better exemplifies true, Godly friendships than that of David and Johnathan.
Scriptural Anchor Point #1—1 Samuel 18:1-4
David and Johnathan’s friendship was strong for many reasons, but one of them is that I believe they recognized well that our faith is not just a vertical relationship between us and God, but also a horizontal relationship between us and other men. It is the vertical aspect that empowers us to have the capacity for deep, intimate horizontal friendships.
Scriptural Anchor Point #2—Matthew 22:37-39
David and Johnathan truly loved each other as they loved themselves. Their love for each other was unique and was even deeper so than of their love for women. (2 Sam 1:26) and even after Johnathan’s death, David’s love for him lingered (2 Samuel 1:22, 2 Sam 9:7). John 15:13 tells us that Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. David and Johnathan would have done such for the other in an instant if called upon. Their relationship was strong and true.
Quote: Emerson wrote: We take care of our health. We lay up money. We make our roof tight. We make our clothing sufficient. But who provides wisely that he shall not be wanting in the best property of all, friends—friends strong and true?
Quote: Billionnaire Howard Hughes took it one step further when he was quoted concerning his fortune and friendships “I’d give it all for one good friend.”
Question to consider:
1) What are you willing to give up for one good friend?
2) Are you willing to give up your security or inhibitions?
3) Are you willing to give up the worldly held point of view that it’s not “manly” for to men to be so close?
4) Are you willing to give what is probably the most precious gift of all in friendships; the gift of time?
A) We live in a world that wants fast food, fast cars, and faster computers.
B) We want our pizza in 30 minutes or less and our dry cleaning in under an hour if you please.
C) We like our friendships to develop the same way we want our oatmeal and our Polaroid prints… in an instant!
Well, unlike a frozen dinner, we can’t “microwave” friendships. We can’t just “nuke” male-bonding! It doesn’t work that way! Are we no longer willing to invest time and ourselves in making real, lasting, lifelong friends?
Week 6 (A Godly Man and His Friends, part b) Memory Verse:
Prov 18:24–A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
On Your Own:
What person(s) did God put on your heart this past week to pray for in terms of strengthening and deepening your relationship with him? -______________
Looking back over your shoulder a bit, can you identify times when you were on a spiritual mountaintop? With that remembrance in mind, were your friendships closer and deeper than at other times?_____________________________________________________________________
Still looking back, can you identify times when you were in a spiritual valley? With that remembrance in mind, were you more isolated from other Christian men than at other times?__________________________
Were your relationships with other men more shallow and superficial than that of other times?______________________________________________
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