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What It Means To Be A Friend

Everyone who’s ever been to high school remembers the minefield of lunchroom politics. Some days just making it to the bell unscathed took the negotiating skills of a seasoned diplomat and the relational savvy of a high-powered exec.

Unfortunately, the anxiety of fitting in and the fear of being excluded doesn’t end after high school. Gossip divides the who’s in and who’s out into college, at the office, and on the playground. Ask a mom about vaccinations, breastfeeding, or what kind of diapers she uses. If you’ve ever found yourself on the opposite side of a parenting decision, you’ve experienced behind-the-back chatter that trumps any isolation we felt in high school.

It’s enough to make you want to give up on friendships altogether. Friendships can be difficult, but they are so worth the effort. We were made for relationship — relationship with God and with others. Deep down, we all desire meaningful, authentic friendships. But in order to have this kind of friend, we have to learn to become one ourselves.

Proverbs 17:9 says, “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”

The first step to ending gossip is to extend grace. Instead of re-living someone’s failure to everyone at the office, we put our own work aside to help them find a solution. Instead of telling everyone at the playground about another mom’s mistake, comfort her with your own parenting tales of defeat and redemption.

Learn to admit our faults and accept that others are imperfect, too. If being this vulnerable sounds risky, it’s because it is. You might get hurt and have to forgive, over and over and over again. But over time, your desk or kitchen table will become known as the place where gossip stops, where vulnerability is safe and where Jesus can be found.


  • What kind of friendship do you want for yourself? For you kids?
  • What kind of friend are you to the people you work with and go to school with?
  • What’s one step you can take today to be a better friend to the men and women around you?

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