And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds… –Hebrews 10:24
One of 1991’s highest grossing films, with six Academy Award nominations, was Thelma and Louise. Billed as a female road movie, the story follows the liberation of two repressed women who begin the movie going on a fishing trip, but end up on the lam.
In the end, cornered at the Grand Canyon and wanting to avoid capture, they make a final decision to drive off the cliff into the canyon. The film ends with a freeze frame of the car in midair and the credits begin over a montage of their happiest moments together during the weekend. The movie has become an iconic classic celebrating friendship between women. My response? You’ve got to be kidding…give me a break!
As we read Paul’s letters in the New Testament, we learn a lot about how to build real friendships and godly relationships. To the Thessalonian believers, he writes, “Encourage one another and build each other up.” To the Colossian church: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom…” As he addresses the Ephesians, he writes, “Be kind and compassionate to one another…”
The kind of relationships God calls us to develop includes extending “kindness with a backbone.” True kindness in friendship means we wouldn’t dream of looking the other way while a precious friend heads down a path guaranteed to cause him or her heartache. True kindness means being willing to gently ask the “hard question.” True kindness prays diligently for a friend’s heart-change. True kindness risks being misunderstood and sacrifices being “nice” for being loving.
A real friend models his or her kindness after God Himself: it’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). Real friends humbly evaluate their friendships on the basis of whether their actions and words help their friends move closer toward the Lord Jesus.
Listen, according to Scripture, friends don’t let friends drive over cliffs!
1. In what ways has God’s kindness led you to a greater awareness of your sin and its potential consequences? Thank Him.
2. Are you resisting the Holy Spirit’s prompting to extend “kindness with a backbone”? Ask Him for His compassion, strength, timing, and words.