From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 2 Cor 5:16
It finally happened: the shift away from how little girls relate in the world to how big girls relate in the world. I think this shift happens with boys too, but I’m more acquainted with how it looks from a girl standpoint.
We’ve moved from the simple “Hey, you’re a girl. I’m a girl. Let’s play.” of the playground to the more complicated “Let me assess how my social status will be impacted by associating with you.” of school hallways and soccer practice. My daughter is still mostly in the simpler place—she just wants everyone to be friends. So, she is struggling to wrap her mind around why girls she’s known in one setting would give her the cold shoulder in another setting. Or why someone would agree to do something with her, but then back out when another offer comes along.
“We used to play American Girl dolls together, but now she won’t talk to me. Why?”
“Why would she say she would do something with me, but then go with someone else instead?”
Here’s the reality—this kind of stuff doesn’t go away. And, in fact, for Christians, we sometimes deal with it more. I desperately wish I could put this reality off—watching it breaks my heart. But instead, I’ll think about how to give her an eternal perspective.
Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners
Jesus is a friend to sinners. I want my daughter to understand that the girls who mistreat her are sinners—but, almost more importantly, that she is too. She also has the propensity to snub someone or to look out for her own interest over another person’s feelings. The main difference between her and most of the girls she knows is that she has a friend in Jesus—she can go to him when she is hurt; she can go to him when she hurts others. Jesus offers his grace to her, and she can offer that to others.
Directing her frustration, anger, or disappointment at individuals would be to misdirect it. What she’s really mad at is this present darkness and the evil one who caused all this brokenness, not the sinners who Jesus longs to redeem.
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
I also want her to understand that who she is does not depend on her friendships; it is rooted in the only One who can be a true friend. He bore all her sins and grief, and there is no one else in the entire world who would do that for her. He loves her with an unbreakable love—a love that is dependent on his loyalty, not hers. What a friend! It won’t matter if some girls on the soccer team snubbed her. At the end of her days, all that will matter is that she was counted among Jesus’ friends, and he will have a place of great honor for her.
It is hard to live in the already and the not yet. In this life she will have trouble, no doubt. She may even have more trouble because of her faith in Jesus. But Jesus is her friend now; he has already prepared a place for her—it’s true now, and it will be true then. And it should change her perspective.
- In what relationships have you lost or never had an eternal perspective? How are those relationships suffering?
- Do you believe that Jesus counts you as friend? Do you see him as the most loyal, loving, and trustworthy friend you could ever have? If not, why?
Thanks, Janet for these thoughts. It is true that the friend shift is often hard to manage in young people especially. For me, it is most difficult to keep an eternal perspective with some of my family members that were once close to me, but are not any more. Its a disappointment, to be sure, but since they don’t know the Lord their focus in life is very different from mine.
After moving many, many times in the first 10 years of my marriage, I often found myself without a close friend. After I was saved, it was such a joy and comfort to me as I finally understood the scripture and learned about Jesus as my closest friend. Through many very difficult times, when I was far away and lonely from my friends and family I thank my God for giving me his Son. He was and is, always there for me and gives me peace and comfort as no one else can do.
Like the old hymn says…”He satisfies my longing as no one else can do…”
Karilee, thank you for your comment. Love that hymn! So true!