Be a friend. It’s that simple and that hard.
I have to believe I have something to give. My attention, my time, my concern. Maybe a friendship develops out of a shared task as I help others. Maybe somebody is going through hard times and I get in the habit of sitting down and listening to them.
I have to take the first step. For me to wait for someone to be my friend is as effective as holding a cardboard sign on the street corner, “Will work for a friend.” Taking the initiative takes a little guts and courage, but if I believe I have something to give to others, I will take the first step.
Finally I have to recognize I will learn more about myself than I ever wanted to. A friend is somebody who shows you who you are, with all the warts and wrinkles. A friend is somebody who can pop all your presumptuous bubbles and still like you, love you, and your feelings for them don’t change, either.
All those things were at work in Jesus. He knew he had something to give and he was never stingy in giving his time and attention to others. He took the first step. When nobody wants to do the dirty work, he would get up and do it. When somebody was under the gun, he stood up for them.
And with Jesus, he tells me more about myself than I really want to know, but in telling me about myself, I become more than I ever could be. And it is never as a judge, but always as a friend.
Maybe that’s why the Bible says, “We love him, because he first loved us.”