When I was a little girl I had a poster in my room that had a picture of two monkeys on it. They were smiling the goofy monkey smile and playing together. On the bottom of the poster there was this quote:
"A friend is someone who knows everything about you, and still loves you."
It has been many years since I've seen that poster, but the quote has stuck with me. What does that mean? The part about "knows everything about you." The good, the bad, and the ugly. The dirty house. The big decisions. The bad parenting moment. Your greatest joys. Your struggles and pains. Your gifts and achievements. Your sin. They know the things we share with everyone and the things we hide from most.
Spend enough time with anyone and you will be let down. No one is perfect. People you love will hurt you. And you will hurt people you love. I love good, close friendships. I really do. I love having women in my life that I can tell anything to and know that they feel the same. I love friendships where I feel like the other person "gets me." But I hate that sometimes I screw up. I hate that sometimes they screw up. It is a hard part about human relationships. All of them. Your marriage, your family, your kids, and your friends. It will never be perfect this side of Heaven.
But looking back at the quote from my poster... There is a second part of it. Yes, they know everything about you, and yet they love you in spite of it.
What is love?
The Bible tells us love is patient and kind. It does not envy or boast. It is not proud (Ouch, that one gets me. I like being right.). It is not rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable and keeps no record of being wronged (Another difficult one for me). Love does not rejoice over injustice but rejoices when the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures every circumstance.
To have true and lasting friendships, love must overcome the faults, mistakes, and sins of others. This is hard work. But I do believe that our friends are worth it. (Obviously, I believe our husbands, children, parents, etc.. are worth it too, but this post's focus is friendship.)
"Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends."
Proverbs 17:9 NLT
Lately I've been praying that God would show me how I can be a better friend. These are a few things He has brought to my attention. I have a ways to go in this area of my life, but I'm thankful I have the truest of friends in my Lord and that He doesn't give up on me. And if the One who is perfect shows me constant grace and mercy, how can I not do the same for the ones He placed in my life?