Friendship Factor #1: "Ready to Love"

I posted these in another forum several years ago, and I wanted to share them here. These are "Friendship Factors" that I've found tremendously useful.
Taken from BONDS OF IRON: FORGING LASTING MALE RELATIONSHIPS by James Osterhaus, Ph.D (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994) 69ff:

The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. The indifferent person does not care to reach out. But the person who has experienced true love and is now able to love can experience friendship. But what is love? Clearly a misunderstood word, love finds its clearest definitions in the descriptions used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Lewis Smede's helpful book, Love Within Limits analyzes this powerful passage of the Bible, and I base the following discussion on many of Dr Smedes' insights.

Love hangs in there, even to the point of ignoring it's own needs. Obviously this requires a focus on the other person. And love looks beyond one's own needs and focuses on the other person, rendering support when needed (because it's just plain kind). Some people are too focused on themselves and their overwhelming sense of neediness. Friendship will not be a part of their lives until they are able to focus on another.

Love doesn't fear being left out. It doesn't hold on tight. Love is able to let go. Erotic love is born of need. "I love you because I need you and I will possess you." But friendship love can let go and realize that in letting go the person will still be there. I can rejoice in your successes. I can see you relate in friendship to others and not be intimidated (the idea of freond, loved and free).

Love has poise. It doesn't need to come on boastfully or arrogantly. It doesn't need to be rude for that matter. Boastful, arrogant people push themselves into our lives (basically because underneath this strident spirit is a sense of unworthiness and inadequacy.) A friend doesn't have to always push...sometimes maybe, but not always. They are comfortable enough to sit by and wait.

Love doesn't insist on its own rights. Love doesn't need to be first all the time. I may even forego a claim to my own personal rights, in behalf of my friendship/relationship with others.

Love isn't irritable, irritability being the launching pad of anger. Not that we don't get angry. But anger is inspected and properly handled to make sure it stays within godly limits. True love has the power to communicate anger constructively, so that even if I am angry with my friend (or vice versa) it is not a threat to our relationship.

Love hates evil. It seeks to drive it out. Love then rejoices in the truth that breaks through. Love needs the reality that truth brings.

Furthermore, love carries the burdens and sorrows of a friend. Love believes in the friend, it's impulse being to trust in rather than suspect the worst of a friend. In fact, love looks beyond the messiness of this present situation, and peers into the future, and brings hope with it? What does it see when it peers there?

It sees JESUS with all the possibilities that He brings into our lives now and in the future.

Love doesn't remove the bad things from relationships: it gives us power to endure them. But not only do we endure the pressure, we grow as a result of it. And of course, love lasts. In fact, it goes on into eternity. And as you love your friends, that friendship/relationship goes on and endures.

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