When I was younger I though everyone was my friend. In reality ,”hoped” would be a more accurate word. As I grew and wanted people to like me, I had many disillusionments around friendship. Many times thinking, if only I were a better friend others would treat me well.
It is strange to me now how blind I was to the differences between being liked and being trusted. As well as being someones friend vs being friends with someone. Why I say blind is that I was trained for and worked in psychiatric nursing, I was a follower of Christ and I had been studying leadership, all for many years and still I could not see the differences.
It wasn’t until I got around Tim Marks that I became aware of the principals and qualities that make up a “Friend”, “Friendship” and “Being a Friend” to others. I watched him serve leaders, stand by people as they struggled through something, let people hold him accountable, give others grace, and love enough to give correction, not criticize, tear down or destroy. It was great evidence of what true Leaders are, and made me painfully aware the world was sorely lacking men that really Lead.
The more I was around men like Tim and their amazing wives, through their writings, books and articles, through talks and videos, watching them seminars and online and finally getting to know and work with men of this caliber, the more I became clear they are different. In reality “better” would be a more accurate word.
I believe today we are called to be a friend to others regardless of it being returned. Serving others in times of need, helping people back up, encouraging people to do and become their very best, seeing the best in them and pointing it out, holding their feet to the fire around actions, words and choices – these are just a few of the facets of real friendship. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17 ESV, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” – Proverbs 27:6 ESV.
If you find yourself taking care of others more than is returned to you, take heart and be glad YOU are a Friend. And if you find others asking for you to “be their Friend” rejoice but do not be fooled thinking they want to take care of you as well. And if you find yourself being cared for by another be Grateful for You have found a True Friend and You are Blessed indeed!
– Chris Mattis