Today, I was doing some channel-surfing and I happened to stumble across the Sandlot (1 of the greatest movies of all-time in my opinion). Every time I watch this movie, no matter how old I get, it grips me. I get lost in all the adventures….the pure love for baseball, the tree-house campout, wendy peppercorn & the pool scene, the rival baseball team, the carnival, the legendary beast…I love it all! However, I think there is something that transcends all the adventures and makes this movie so universally enjoyable…..FRIENDSHIP.
Deep friendship is something that we all long for. There’s no doubt about it. God has wired us this way. We were all meant for communion with others…people to lean on in hard times, people to share experiences with, people to love and be loved by. Even our Lord Jesus Christ established a close group of friends during His time on earth.
I was blessed and privileged to establish some really deep friendships over my college years…friends that I know I will have forever. As I thought about these different individuals and contemplated what made them such good friends and what made them so special to me, two words kept continually coming to mind: Love and Listen.
Genuine love is at the heart of all deep relationships. Let me clarify. I am NOT speaking of HOLLYWOOD, “Milk Toasty” LOVE! (If I may steal a term from my high school english teacher, Mrs. Totaro 🙂 ) This is not the fairytale, mushy love. Not a love for what others can give you or make you feel. That is distorted, selfish love. I’m talking about sacrificial love. A genuine desire to put one’s own preferences aside to see another human being happy. My deepest friendships are with people who I know are looking out for my best interest, and know that I am doing the same for them. Jesus modeled this kind of affection and love….”Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love (John 13:11). Love is the key ingredient! Without it, all things are worthless, even religion. Without love, there is no friendship.
Deep friendships are established by listening. Listening is a lost art today. Everyone has an opinion and everyone wants to voice it. But, it is those who can listen that are usually the truest friends. Consider the following quote: “to be able to listen to others in a sympathetic and understanding manner, is perhaps the most effective mechanism in the world for getting along with people, and tying up their friendship for good.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes