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The Importance of Friendship

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
April 15, 2020 2:00 am

The Importance of Friendship

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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April 15, 2020 2:00 am

Kelly Needham, author of the book, "Friend-ish," talks about the valuable role friendship plays in our lives. All friendships aren't created equal, however. Sometimes what drives a friendship is a person's longing for importance or popularity. Christian friendship should rise above this, especially since believers share a common mission-to glorify God.

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There is an epidemic of loneliness in our culture today and Kelly Needham says that something every one of us can do something about. I think a lot of us are walking into this common ground area in the lobby at church or baby shower wherever we happen to be at and we are waiting for somebody did befriend us and I think the call that we see in the Bible is to be the friend of others that you wish you had yourself that Jesus does that in his parable of the good Samaritan guy starts asking.

Well, who is my neighbor and Jesus turns around is what kind of neighbor are you and sonar friendships. We tend to ask who is my friend is to be my friend today. I think when Jesus challenges us in the Gospels is to go who are even a befriend day.

This is family life today. Our hosts are Damon and Wilson on Bob Payne Fonda there's a lot in the Bible about how we are to relate to one another and have brotherly affection for each other we do that we cultivate talk more about that today with Kelly Needham stay with us and welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us to talk today about the importance and maybe a little, but the danger of friendships and I was thing about this when Mary and we were raising our kids. I learned at some point in this process that when Marianne had a night where she went out and was with her friends for the evening. I got a newer, better wife and mom back at the end of the evening. Then if she hadn't had that time, you know I'm talking about right, absolutely. I think this topic at work and hit today is really important and it's necessary but it's also a little tricky because I think every listener will think I've had a great experience with friends, but there can also be some negative experiences with friends and I know for women and about you guys but for women. This resonates with our hearts likely minutely need friendship thought, I think it resonates for guys you can me.

That's one of the best gifts ever read my life or my friends course on the perfect friend that's who I am guy like I got Kelly Needham joining us today Kelly. Welcome to family life to the thank you Bob so much mad at me. I'm glad to be here. Kelly is from of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and you have to be clear because the Fort Worth people don't like you singer from Dallas and you're actually not from Dallas where you were south of Dallas in cities cuts either help your husband as a worship pastor of the local church there.

You're a writer and a speaker and you've written a book on friendships called friend if that's an interesting title because I don't know where that come from looking on this idea.

Like you were saying earlier that we need friendships that are super important. But not all of our finches are healthy.

There are dangerous versions of friendship that we need to know about. Be aware of, and as Christians I found most people didn't even have a category for an unhealthy friendship with another Christian. And so the title is trying to communicate.

There is such a thing as being friend it's kind of there but not quite. It's not the real thing.

It's might be a counterfeit into trying it helped create category for the danger issue came up your Thomas earlier this came up in kind of an interesting way. As you are working with high school and college age girls. That's right yeah I was mentoring a few girls in college and one of them called me with some peculiar issues going on in friendship and a lot of hard things that happened with her friend.

She was really stepping into care for her friend and the relationship is becoming really inground and having some physical temptations come alongside that and said they were spending a lot of time cuddling together and then that became more sexual over time, and I remember thinking I have no idea what's going on here and because she didn't even see it as a negative thing right off the bat. It was this is something unhealthy about it that the friendship is good and so I I started walking with her and trying to search the word of God. Like how do I understand what's happening here and walk with this friend of mine and then over time that story became more common, more of my friends either came out to me that they had struggled with that. Not that they felt like they were lesbians.

A homosexual, but that they had had sexual experiences with friends that started from a place of codependency and really inground friendship that they became dependent on and then express itself sexually that for me me me of why this is a bigger deal than just a one-off situation so let me make an observation here could be interested in in your thoughts on this. Any of you guys it seems to me we live in a day where we don't know how to think about close relationships with people without sexualizing that in some way. I think the culture tells us over and over again that if you have strong feelings. If you have it. If you're drawn to somebody in some emotionally connected way the right response to that is to sexualizing I think this goes to every move.

You see, these days, where, when, as soon as the couple starts to to have romantic feelings for one another. The next step for them is to sexualize that someone sale that to go. I I'm hearing from parents who tell me that their junior and senior high kids are saying. I think I'm probably maybe 70% federal and maybe 30% gay and it's because they have a strong connection relationally with somebody and they think will if I'm feeling this way about the person.

There must be some sexual component to that you think that's right.

I do agree with that and even see it with the community of people who call themselves gay Christians that that they would identify with Christianity, but also say that's true identity that they'll look at Jonathan and David in the Bible and say without was a sexual relationship, whether it was expressed or not. It was not that they were really endeared to one another in a way that they want their wives, and I think because of their commitment to the kingdom of God and how unique that was for the two of them in that season of Israel's history to have that but we don't have a category for that.

Maybe her understand the story and so they go a look there really close to each other. David mourns Jonathan in a way he doesn't seem to mourn his wives.

They must be gay and see I said that happens a lot in you. You write about that your book the David and Jonathan friendship. What is it about that friendship that we can learn from because it really is beautiful. It is beautiful and you can see why some people would say oh no it went beyond beautiful to sexual and yet I still beg go now I don't see that all but people say that.

So what is it about that is a model for us. I think what is so fascinating that there friendship when you read it in context. When you read through all those chapters together is that Jonathan becomes endeared to David right after he slays Goliath so you see in that moment David rises up above all these men who are older than him has faith that the Israelites should have had, but they didn't.

And Jonathan has expressed that faith in previous chapters in our Bible and so I think he sees a like mindedness with David and because you get it you get that God is strong enough and big enough and all of our peers don't get it. And so of course they feel the sense of like you know endeared us toward each other, but the other factor at play with their friendship is that David is a threat to Jonathan's place to the front and so I think Jonathan's covenant into David is even a uniting himself at the kingdom of God. Even at the expense of his own kingdom that I'm to side with David because he's a man after God's own heart, as I am, even if it cost me the throne, and that covenant actually enables another friendship so I think it has very little to do with the filling their own personal desires. In fact he see them parting from one another for the sake of the kingdom. What is attracting them to one another what their loving about one another. Is this common mission there on and part of the thesis of your book is that for our friendships to be healthy friendships that needs to be at the core, rather than whatever emotional benefits you are I are getting from the relationship run. That's right.

That's why war stories actually really helpful model for us as Christians and an end of the book actually site band of Brothers as an example and I quoted that book that he says comrades are closer than friends, and it's because they share a mission together and I think Christians have the ability to have deeper and more meaningful friendships with one another than anyone else because we had a mission to let out together and that's actually when they deepen, but a lot of us are building friendships because when lonely. We want to feel comfort. We want to feel secure and we want somebody to tell us where amazing and that's never can it satisfy or deepen our friendships actually can really pull in the opposite direction.

It can create more conflict, jealousy, bitterness, anger, resentment, and these things that we now find on the Internet articles about BSF breakups. You know you have that's friends getting together and breaking up and wise of that happening. I think because were letting our friendship seatbelt on her own desires and not on something bigger like they were meant to be.

I think when I was in high school I shied away from friendships because there was exactly what he talked about Kelly. There is jealousy there is gossip there is competition and so I kinda stayed away from that.

But then when I got into college and I started to be discipled by an older woman and we had this small group of women. It's exactly what you're saying we were on this mission to make the gospel known changed everything because it wasn't about looking at one another with a microscope it wasn't seeing their flaws and what you're not doing for me. It became this mission of how can we reach the world for Christ and became so beautiful, so sweet of that common mission. We don't always start their because relationships are really tricky and I know for me as a woman talking to other women. This is such a messy thing.

It's this beautiful desire. We have but it can also be really hurtful. But if he found talking to women, how can we go about this in a healthy way. Besides having that common mission and how do we get a friend.

I think a lot of us are walking into those common ground areas. The lobby at church or the baby shower wherever we happen to be at and we are waiting for somebody did befriend us and I think the call that we see in the Bible is to be the friend to others that you wish you had yourself that Jesus does that in his parable of the good Samaritan, that guy starts asking. Well, who is my neighbor and Jesus turns around is what kind of neighbor are you and so and I friendships we tend to ask who is my friend is to be my friend today.

I think what Jesus challenges us in the Gospels is to go, who were even a befriend today and I think the richness of our friendships depend on how willing we are to be a friend to somebody else and the only way that that's possible in my life and I think for any of us is to have a really deep reservoir friendship with God that if God is meeting our needs.

If we are going to him is that fountain of living water, and he's our closest companion. He's our stability and security. We can befriend someone else and risk rejection risk that person who might not have time for us in and we feel you know that insecurity not moment if if we have a solid foundation with Christ, then will be able to navigate that and continue to befriend other people and that will give us a wealth of friendships that I don't think anything else will you open the book talking about your own desire to have a friend when you sorted and heavily right talk about battering because you're sort of mean we've all been there were I want a friend, but we wait and nobody comes and then we also think they anything friendly uneven friend. This is church is so annoying.

There is not even reaching out.

Yeah, I think it was the first time that I used to travel with my husband.

He's a musician and was onto a lot and then I stayed home and took a job in youth ministry and he was on the road and I remember thinking I'm not gonna make it without friends and I have a lot of friends but they're all over the country, but I don't have a lot of local friends because we been traveling and how to build a friend I literally sent an email to three women that I had met once or twice that I knew that Simon was gutsy, literally. I will you be my friend email, but I knew them through a fellow mentor. We had met in some common circles. They were my age and I just I remember writing and saying like I need encouragement I need. Women who want to study the word with me who want to pray with me you might have known too full of a schedule already.

That's fine. I'm just throwing myself out there in one of those women. They all respond in some way that one of them responded and said let's meet for coffee this week and we got together that week for coffee just got to know each other started to pray for one another and we met for two years straight every week at that Starbucks and in that time I had a couple of miscarriages. So did she wind up starting a small group of women that were doing some of the semi-things you are doing and with your friends and just meeting together to be about the mission of the gospel in our community and it was so rich. It was one of the sweetest expressions of friendship that I had in my life thus far, but I don't think it would've happened without what was really a succumb scary thing to do to write to some women. I barely knew and said I don't really have a friends will you be my friend and I think soon as it be willing to do that scary because they could write back and say no or say nothing all of a sudden you just put yourself out there in the rejection, the can come with that there are some blisters were going. I tried that and I got the rejection I must try met again what you say to those women and those hurts are ones that new friendships and can heal and I think sometimes are looking for that and I think is a real wounds. The wounds we have from friends are are legitimate and real and we have to take them to the same place to take all other hurts which is first to the Lord to heal our hearts and if you haven't done that.

I think that's for me always the first step I need to talk honestly with God about this.

This hurt that I'm still carrying on and ask him to heal it and then provide for me what my friends never can and as I restore my relationship with God and find healing.

That gives me the courage to keep walking out there risking that but it is scary and I don't think it ever is not scary. In some ways you have more stories of God's faithfulness. The longer that you risk things in faith, but it's still hard but it's worth it.

And we need friends. I think that's a legitimate need that we have. It's not good for man to be alone and so if we find that where becoming content are okay with isolationism I could sign any people I need people and we have to fight for that need to be met so we can continue to move for the gospel and yet I've heard some people say well for my relation with God is intimate and it's really good and close that I'm with them every day. I don't need anything else. I don't need anybody else I just only Jesus is all wanted me. You've heard that you just dated God didn't say that he says we need each other. You even in the opening story went on about Abby. That's her name right. Your friend, you make the comment. It was like God used Abby to remind you that he's there right so that's the value the friendship that God actually uses human beings to do that he does he meets us through our communion with one another and I think we do need this times alone with him, but we are his body.

That's why were called to not forsake meeting together and to pray for one another, although one another's at the Scripture you can't do on your own and that some of how the spirit of God encourages and strengthens our hearts is in those ways we all face temptation and it's our friends or other people in our lives that are usually the ones to then fight alongside with us for that, or when we stumble into sin were called to confess our sins will hoodwink in present day. We can't, we should confess him to God. But, he says, confess your sins one to another, and pray for one another.

C might be healed, so none of that can happen on our own and I think the gospel is most felt when I share my failings, my sins with another person and I have to and similes experience the weight of my shame in front of them and then be embraced with the freshness of the gospel.

Hey guess what God still you and that just penetrates my heart in such a deeper way than even just when I'm alone with God.

He meets me there and in that moment of community. I think that it's so necessary can't do life alone.

It is actually no Bob I know you probably heard this as well, but all my years working in the NFL with players when you talk to them when they're done and asked them what you miss about the game. It's 100% of never heard a by saving different I miss the locker I missed the guys they don't talk about touchdowns else about super Bowls course in Detroit. We never were near zero Volvo watching it, but not like in the only talk about friendship and the bonding and going through two days in training camp together and be in a mission together. It is in the soul of a man and woman to connect and that's what they miss. And yet I talked to so many wives who would say my husband doesn't have a friend. He says he has Jesus.

He says he has me as his wife.

That's all he needs and I think these women are thinking friendship is so important to me and yet statistically many men don't have even one friend why is it that guys like what what happens among men that go to harder to have a nail friendship are defined, I think there are some cultural factors that are work there so we can't deny that there are gender stereotypes that are part of the culture. So you grow up thinking different things about gender, but also think the guys form friendships around different things you talk about guys so I missed the locker room. If you are trying to start a men's group at your church and you said guys were just gonna get together for coffee and just talk guys are like I'm not showing him for no right but if you said were get together and start a softball league guys will get together and play softball and form friendships in the midst of that activity over and go help this good. I would go with a lady in our church were to go help yard work for her. Guys will show up for the task and will form relationships in the midst of that.

I just think we live in a culture today where the opportunities you know it used to be you work side-by-side in the factory or your environment created more natural friendship opportunities. We live in a much more isolated world and culture yeah and it's interesting were more connected than ever before, and we thought that connection digitally will heal that wound for friendship and it's actually the opposite and made it worse until we were talking about friendships when I talk about Facebook friends for what is the difference between a real friend on Facebook friend a Facebook friend you pick and choose what you share with them when you interact with them. It's all a cart.

It's curated but real friend sees you on your bad days because you run into them in the town that you live in you know or in the church lobby and they know you in there like you're off, let's you know what's going on think those are the friendships we long for bed.

There also little scarier to create there something we like about the safe environment of digital friendships because we want to risk anything there and so we love it and we hate it.

It's providing the secure environment to build friendships where we stay isolated behind the screen and we love that that were not actually getting the friendship out of it and so were more isolated and lonely and so these superficial connections. These curated connections which are talking about can give us an artificial sense of all, I have lots of friends, but there's an epidemic of loneliness because all we have is curated surface level friendships and not anybody who knows our hearts are pains are struggles going to run.

That's why local friendships matter so much and I encourage a lot of people that you have to make that a priority. And what was different about my mom's generation. When I talked to her attention to nursing school.

It was like not an option. You don't have cell phones you way to stay in touch and so you say goodbye to diesel friends and then you come and build these new friendships because that's what you have now we have options. And so it creates for us a new decision we have to make. I have to make the conscious choice to let go of all friendships, because I can't just continually added. I will burn out CIN people doing that I'm going to have a thousand friends and try to keep up with. I have to make a conscious choice to let go. These friendships here and I moved to new city and give space to build new ones that are actually in my local arena had. I'm gonna run into an ominous see them and some days and hate that because I'm in a run into them in the grocery store when I'm feeling really depressed or sorrowful. I kinda like it. I just must stay there and then my friend can see me in it.

I have to deal with it. It's a grace but I don't like it all the time.

We need that.

That's where I think we long for those types of friendships but they happen locally for the most part I only means you can have friendships that are long distance but we need local friendship settings by the local church matters to is that need face-to-face life on life. That's right, not just stunned. That's right yeah and you're not going to get it unless you pursue notes easily sit there and look and wait.

And I think the church it happens a lot.

They sit there and I'm up I'm up there sending the community I consume looking at me like, well, the way reaching out. It's like I don't go, you do it yet will reach out. I thought of this wound. When we moved to Detroit well first things I knew I needed was guys my life.

You know, so I knew that number to preach as a preacher, but I knew I needed that. And so here I am almost 40 years later, they'll only been 35. I have those guys we raise their kids together. There were raise our grandkids have done their daughter's wedding to all those good things. And I'll never forget when ancestor like her best friend got cancer mother before she's 44 years old and she's gone quickly.

The cancer spread very quick and she passed and these guys were over my house well and was down in Atlanta were sister lived often with her doing life with me.

I can never plan Best Buy above there. We are were doing some together, but were talking about what's going on and then the day of the funeral on the funeral because on the family pastor. The back door.

This church opens and Alanna and all these guys and their wives walk in never told us there, and they flew down from Detroit, and in that moment to see if I can see them right now. The back of the church is like. That's our community.

Those my friends are friends. It was such a beautiful picture of God's here through friends.

That's how strong it is to say, you've got to pursue it in the in the mountain tops are to be there and in the valleys. They are a picture. They are the very presence of God in your life and we started this whole conversation talking about how friendships in our lives can actually bless our marriage we will have a better marriage and family, if we got healthy friendships outside part of the reason for that is because then were not looking for spouse to be everything to us.

No spouse can be everything to you and your friends can meet needs in your life and can help minister to you in a way that your spouse can't.

So to have those friendships is retake some of the pressure off of your spouse to be everything in your marriage and this this is why am up program that's devoted marriage and family were talking about how healthy friendships are to make your marriage and family better and stronger. I think this is gonna be a helpful important book for a lot of our listeners. This is one you will read not just once.

In fact, this is a great book to read with friends together, go to our website go to family life to the duck, get a copy of Kelly mediums book friend dish you can order from us on Monday. Family life to or you can call to order number is 1-800-358-6329 again online look for the book friend dish when you go to family life to or by calling one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life than the word today in our goal here at family life is to help all of us think more biblically about whatever it is were facing a life whether it's friendships and how they form, and how we live those out to the current moment in which we are living the issue of the coronavirus earlier this week we have the opportunity to talk with Dr. John Piper about this issue. He has written a new book called coronavirus and Christ, and we are making the audiobook or the e-book available to any of our listeners absolutely for you can go to our website and download your choice of the audiobook or the e-book of coronavirus and Christ by Dr. John Piper.

Again, this is a part of our desire to help you and your family be thinking questionably about what we believe and how we live during moments like this. The download is free go to our website. Family life to

The book is called coronavirus and Christ.

If you'd like a print copy of the book. Those are to be available in about a week. You can preorder the book from us on our and we hope you'll take advantage of this offer and hope you'll read it may be together as a family or as a couple so that we can all be thinking rightly about what it is were dealing with right now and we hope you can join us again tomorrow.

Kelly Needham is can be backward and continue talking about friendships and how we can live those up think our engineer today.

Keith Lynch along with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts Dave and Ann Wilson about the pain we will see you back tomorrow for another edition of family life, family life, to use a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. A crew ministry help for today hope for tomorrow

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