I had two youth in my Sunday bible class today. Two is not bad. Last week was one. Two weeks ago: zero.
Anyway, we were talking about David and Jonathan, who were some unlikely friends in the bible. Jonathan was the king’s son, so in any other situation, he would be the successor to the throne. But God had decided to give the throne to David. Despite the potential conflict, the two were great friends.
So our discussion was about friends. It was not an easy conversation. I asked, “What makes someone a good friend?” <silence> “Ok, what makes someone a bad friend?” Answers included rudeness and ignoring you. Some physical violence. <really?> More silence. Getting teens to talk is difficult.
“OK,” I continued, “Who makes you feel jealous?” (Like King Saul.) Or, “Who annoys you?” The consensus? Everyone. Well, at least we’re talking. “Everyone?” “Yes.”
I’ve heard this answer before. Everyone is annoying, undependable, dishonest, unreliable and a bother. Really? That is your world?
OK, what about Jesus? Do you ever think of him as a friend? The consensus is, “No.” So you never heard Jesus’ words, “I don’t call you slaves, but friends”? Nope. Is Jesus dependable? Most reply, “Yes.”
So they were raised in the church. Taught in the church. Confirmed in the church. And never considered Jesus to a friend? Interesting. And sad,. Why wren’t they taught that before?
What about virtual friends? You know, friends whom you’ve never physically met, but are friends with online? Yes, they all had a few friends like that. “What’s that like?” I asked. They answered, “It’s creepy.” That’s weird. Imagine having friends you’ve never met in person.
I told them that I still kept in contact with friends from high school and college. Friends from 45 years ago! Friends I barely remembered. The two in my class were only 14 and 12. They had no clue.
So I began thinking, “Who are my friends?” Who would I call at 2 am when I had to face a crisis? With whom can I share freely without any fear of judgment? Who will always be there to back me up?
Whoever it is, they are precious. Priceless. Golden. Worth more than anything.