Friends. Who doesn’t need one? We are thinking about friendliness this month and looking for ways to grow in this attribute. The preacher tells us in Proverbs 18:24 “a man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” JESUS speaks a parable in Luke 11 about a man going to a friend at midnight. That is the kind of thing we would not do with a stranger. Having a friend is important to us all. But to have such a friend we must start out by being friendly.
In Matthew 5:47, Jesus exhorts us to be friendly, not only toward our friends, but even toward those who may be our enemies. And in Romans 16:16 we are told to “salute one another with a holy kiss.” In other words, we should be genuinely friendly.
Friendliness goes much deeper than occasional greetings. Our friendliness can make someone else feel comfortable in our presence such as when we make a visitor to our services feel like they belong there. The good Samaritan showed helpful friendliness toward his “neighbor” (Luke 10:36). There are too many in our world who are seldom greeted in their own household with a smile. Your genuine friendliness might “make the day” for someone and might keep someone else from an act of suicide.
Friendliness is a characteristic which Jesus exemplified as he went everywhere helping people. One of our other JG characteristics, hospitality, is made so much easier by a friendly disposition. Our friendliness to those outside the body of Christ might become the hinge upon which a door is opened to their heart. It might turn into a relationship that leads them to the Lord and His truth. None of us like to be greeted over a countertop by a surly growling employee. On the other hand, our spirits are lifted up with a friendly smile or gesture. Surely we can understand that part of the exhortation to “let our light shine” is to let our friendliness open some hearts to listen to the gospel.
Many of the characteristics we have already studied in Joshua Generation help us develop the skills for friendliness. We have worked on courtesy, that certainly involves friendliness.We have also worked on growing in kindness, honesty, respect for others, self control, happiness, forgiveness and last month we worked on compassion. All of these characteristics are necessary for us to grow in friendliness.We can never just grow in one area at a time.They all are so intertwined, we can’t grow in one without it touching the others. It is truly a blessing to be a child of such a loving Father that He created us in such a way that it makes it easier to grow in Him.
We all know how to be friendly because we know how if feels when someone is friendly toward us. When we are friendly towards others it makes them feel apart of our lives. JESUS tells us in Matthew 7:12: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should so do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” We commonly call this the ’golden rule’today. To be friendly just put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think how you would want to be treated in any situation. What would it take to make you feel befriended?Think about practicing these things.
1.Have a ready smile on your face for everyone.
2.Make eye contact with strangers and smile.
3.Look for the loner in a group and make at least brief conversation with genuine interest.
4.Show a friendly interest with phone calls or visits to those who are alone, miss services, are having difficulties, are depressed, are sick, etc.
5.Learn to care about those who are around you.
Like all Christian characteristics, friendliness is one of the transformations (Rom. 12:2) we must work on in our lives. You will become a different person with it.