Every 2nd and 4th Thursday (for the past year) I have been doing childcare for the local chapter of *MOPS (Mother* of Preschoolers). It meets at our church, and a couple of my friends are part of it (b/c they have young children). Well, about 6 months ago my friend, Toni, asked me if I’d be interested in speaking at one of their meetings. Of course, my first reaction was, “Why? Uumm….I’m not a mom.”
But, after the question faded and the discussion continued, she talked to me a little bit about their “theme” for the year. All year they have been working on “deepening their relationships” with their spouses, their children, God, themselves, and of course, today, was deepening your relationship with your friends.
So…..when she asked me (6 months ago) to speak to the group, I blogged immediately. I have had this blog in my “Draft” folder since October….and today, I can share it with you.
This is not ALL I shared about today, but this is the “bulk” of what I talked about…
“How to be a Trustworthy Friend.”
“A friend is a keeper of confidences, trustworthy with the things that belong to others.”
Trustworthy…..”worthy of confidence”
I want to be a friend that is worthy of confidence….worthy of trust….
One of the greatest gifts you give to a friend is a sense of safety in your relationship. A friend is someone with whom you can safely share your fragile dreams, expose your fears, unveil your failures, and discuss your struggles, big and small. Others may laugh at your dreams, belittle your fears, or openly talk about your struggles. But, hopefully, a friend would not do that.
For our youth group my daily pray is that our new 7th graders feel welcomed and safe. I want our youth group to be a place that someone can come and feel safe–secure from danger, evil, or harm….free from risk.
“A friend is a keeper of confidences, trustworthy with the things that are yours.”
Do people see me as trustworthy? Do I create an environment that welcomes people in or pushes people away? Am I trustworthy? Am I relational? Do I build relationships up or do I tear them down?
Relationships are just that….relational. Like the old cliche’ it takes two to tango–it takes two to have a relationship. You cannot build a relationship with someone without…..someone.
So, what does it take to be a friend? To build a relationship? In my personal opinion you must:
1. Be reliable. John 4:34-35-The Message
“Jesus said, ‘The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started. As you look around right now, wouldn’t you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest? Well, I’m telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what’s right in front of you. These Samaritan fields are ripe. It’s harvest time!”(emphasis mine)
Be 100% there, if/when you are needed. If you are able, be there….
My senior year in college my best friend’s dad died unexpectedly. She called me at 2:30AM (in the morning)….I jumped up, put on clothes, and drove over to her apartment. It was never a question. It was never a doubt in my mind. My schedule allowed me to do that, so I did it.
2. Be careful what you promise and commit to. Psalm 37:5-6a NLT
“Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you….”
Paul tells me that I need to learn how to say “No.” (We practice it at home….I’m not kidding–Say “N-O”) I’m horrible at saying no because I feel so guilty afterwards. I never want that person to be mad at me because I couldn’t commit to what they were asking me to do. But, at the same time, if my heart is not 100% in it, I don’t want to give half-heartedly.
A couple of years ago I asked one of my friends (in Illinois) to help me with something at camp (where we used to work). She responded, in a very LOVING way, that she would not be able to help me because she was taking that particular Saturday as her Sabbath. At the time, I didn’t understand what she meant and was angry that she just blatantly said “no” to me, but I TOTALLY get it now….and it’s brilliant.
Stand strong and firm in what you need to do, for yourself, your family, and your faith.
Hebrews 10:36 NLT
“Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.”
While life happens, it is not excuse for being untrustworthy. So, part of being a trustworthy friends is knowing that life happens, and overcommitment can be a very scary thing if things don’t “fall into place” like you think/thought they would. Never say you will do something you can’t. Never say you will be somewhere when you won’t. A few slips cancelled plans will not damage the trust, but regularly committing to things and not following through is going to make you untrustworthy.
3. Listen and respect people. James 1:19 ESV
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…”
God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we can listen more and talk less.
Part of being trustworthy is not repeating information that is private, embarrassing, etc. Be the kind of person that your friend knows they can share their deepest secrets, fears, etc. with, without worry that it will come out later, or be used against them at some point. Confidences shared are to be respected.
4. Be quick to forgive. Proverbs 17:9 NLT
“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.”
It is important that you determine the kind of friendship you will provide others, and the kind of friends in which you are willing to invest yourself.
Forgiveness is a choice we make because of the decision we have made to follow Jesus Christ.
Colossians 3:13 NIV
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
5. Be trustworthy. Isaiah 26:3 NIV
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
Do not lie. Do not tell secrets. Do not back stab, gossip, or do things that will hurt the person.
Working at Great Oaks Camp in Illinois, this was one of the hardest lessons our kids had to learn. They live in a society/culture that teaches them to “stick up for themselves,” no matter the cost. Their parents would teach them “if someone hits you, you hit them back.” We, as a Christian camp, would have to say and impart in them, “OK, your parents might say that, but at camp, we don’t do that.”
In this instance, an “eye for an eye” does not WORK…..if someone gossips about you, do not return with gossip. If someone hurts you, turn and walk away.
And, sadly, it’s not just kids who have this problem…..many, many times prayer requests are just used as a way to “glorify gossip”–sad, but true.
Proverbs 11:13 TNIV
“Gossips betray a confidence, but the trustworthy keep a secret.”
Instead, hold their friendship dear, and be the kind of friend that deserves it and that they would choose to rely on because they know that they can.
6. Be kind. Ephesians 4:32 NIV
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
This is what I tell our youth kids the most. Be kind to one another.
We often hurt the people closest to us the most because we can. So, if you want to be a trustworthy friend, you have to learn to become aware of people’s insecurities, and never use them as ammunition, even when you are angry.
7. Be on time. 1 Peter 2:17a NLT
“Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters.…”
It is a silly thing, but making plans with someone means extending your trust to them. It means expecting them to show up.
So, if you want to show you are worthy of that trust, do not just show up, but be on time so that they never have to doubt you or themselves.
Loyalty is not optional; loyalty to one’s friends is mandatory, an evidence of character and integrity. “Be loyal; never continue a relationship in which loyalty and integrity would be compromised, yours or theirs.”
8. Extend trust. Proverbs 19:20 ESV
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”
If you are always willing to hear other people’s secrets, but never tell your own, it starts to feel one sided, and makes people feel like you can’t be trusted.
My prayer for you today is that God and others find you trustworthy.