Summary of a Bible study made in connection with the World Friendship Day
It is good to be and have friends. A friend is someone with we can fully open our hearts and minds. A friend unconditionally accepts us without any prejudice. Without a friend we have no one to share our innermost feelings --our fears, our anxieties, our sorrows, our hopes, and our joys
Friendship is the highest degree of relationship. There is unconditional acceptance of each other. A friendship should be the goal of every relationship. A husband-wife relation needs to grow to a friendship. All family relations and social relations need to grow to friendships. Friendship is the ideal relationship not only for individuals but also for families, communities, and even for nations. The world will be a heaven if all people are friendly to one another.
So it is important to make and keep friends. We need to actively seek friendship. Smile at someone and he/she smiles back at you. That can be the beginning of a friendship. As long as you wish for the wellbeing of that friend, the friendship remains. A friendship is based on an agreement-- you will unconditionally accept each other, and you will seek the wellbeing mutually. There is absolute freedom in a friendship because you don't possess a friend. You don't order a friend; you only request. You don't expect anything from a friend; you only accept your friend. Love springs from absolute freedom. If you make any attempt to constrict or restrict the freedom of your friend, you lose a friend.
It is easy to break a friendship. If you do anything that is against the agreement of friendship, it breaks. If you allow it to remain broken, your friend can become your worst enemy. So it is important to mend broken relationships. If the mistake was on your part, you need to apologize for your mistake and seek forgiveness. If the friendship was broken due to a misunderstanding, you need to try to clear it. If the mistake was on your friend's part, you may not be able to continue as friends unless he/she apologizes to you. But do not develop an enmity toward your friend. Be willing to forgive as soon as your friend apologizes to you.
The God-man relation also needs to become a friendship. John says in his epistle that we need to have a fellowship with God. Friendship might be a better translation. We need an unconditional acceptance and openness with God. Garden of Eden is our ideal where God and man live in friendship. John in a vision sees Garden of Eden reestablished when God lives among people in friendship. In our world, we have rejected the friendship of God, and so we live in enmity with God. We need to take the initiative to mend the broken relationship and reestablish our friendship with God.
Prayer is communication with God. If God is a friend to us, we will enjoy the time we spend with God. We will look forward to the time we spend with God. The question of why we pray becomes absurd. It is something that we enjoy doing, and it is an end in itself. Prayer involves not only talking to God but also listening to God. It is easier to talk than to listen. We can listen only with our inner ear. We can make it active only if we develop the ability to keep our senses in our control, and learn to pay attention.
Being friendly and seeking friendship is risky. You are like a sheep that seeks to be in good relationship with the other sheep. But unfortunately there are wolves disguised as a sheep. Your friendliness might be tempting for a wolf to victimize you. You might be an easy target for a wolf. Although most of the people we meet are sheep like us, there are very few wolves among them, and their presence can make us suspect every sheep we meet. But suspecting and avoiding everyone cannot be a solution. We need to slowly and carefully make friendships and make a united force against wolves.