“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
I saw a saying in a friend’s kitchen once that truly resonated with me: “Backdoor friends are the best kind of friends.” I like the saying because I believe that it beautifully communicates the blessing of casual intimacy in friendship. I don’t mind when a “backdoor friend” shows up and I have dishes in the sink or laundry sorted on the floor because it is wash day. Such a friend has come, not to be critical of me or my home, but because we enjoy spending time together.
I love the idea of “backdoor friends,” but most of us have experienced the pain and disappointment of a friendship that has gone sour. Many of the women I counsel have emotionally distanced themselves from other people because of past hurt or disappointment experienced in a relationship. Over time, the consequences of such distancing can result in bitterness, loneliness and depression that is difficult to escape. As a part of helping to breakdown some of those distancing barriers (what we call “trust issues), we talk in the Counseling Room about how God has designed us for relationships:
- First and foremost, He designed us to enjoy a relationship with Him. Jesus reflected this when He said God’s greatest commandment is to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
- Secondarily, we were designed by God for loving relationships with one another. Again, Christ affirmed this when He said that His Father’s second greatest commandment is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39:
We also talk about the difficulty and disappointment we experience in this world because of sin. As humans, we WILL fail and disappoint one another (even I, as their counselor, will likely do that!) Our bottom line? When “life” hits us hard and we are hurt or confused only God (who is both Sovereign and Good) is worthy of our trust.
How can someone get out of a self-made prison of bitterness, loneliness or depression? Get your relationship straight with God first. That is why I do my best to help my clients become acquainted with the Scriptures for themselves through Journey Notes Praise Journaling. God fully understands the pain of rejection by people and demonstrated what it means to be a true friend through His only Son. The best way to comprehend His understanding to help in your journey, is to invest yourself in His Living Word.
I invite you to look at what Jesus said about relationships in John 15 as He prepared His disciples for His coming arrest and death. The chapter begins with Jesus illustrating how we are to relate to Him, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” (verse 5) He goes on to talk about the essentials of meaningful friendship (God’s love and personal sacrifice) in verses 14 and 15 , “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. “
Deep hurt takes time to heal. The good news is that as we learn to trust God for our healing, the result is a deepened appreciation for His love and mercy extended to us. (The ultimate “Backdoor Friend!”) It is with His love and mercy that we then find the courage to love others again.
All to His Glory!
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in My Name the Father will give you. This is My command: Love each other.” John 15:16-17