I love speaking about miracles and forgiveness and the joy of living a life in Christ, but for some reason, God felt I should speak about friendship – REAL friendship, the kind that will speak truth and speak words of warning over our friends as well as words of encouragement and blessing. A year or so ago, I ran into a friend in Target, and she says, “Did Tal tell you she saw me?” I said, “No, she didn’t.” My friend says, “Well, I cannot believe she didn’t tell you!” She says this in a way that was a little more than the normal. She repeats it again, “I cannot believe she didn’t tell you!” I said, “Well, I’ll have to ask her why.” She goes on to tell me why Talia should have “remembered” to tell me, as it was a very memorable event when the two of them ran into each other.
My friend works at a downtown office that’s near the United Bank building, the big mirrored building right by the Kanawha County Courthouse. She wanted to go to the courthouse building for lunch – there’s a guy there that sells hot dogs and sandwiches and things on the second floor there and they’re very reasonable and good. My friend –- let’s call her Marge. Marge goes to the restroom before she leaves her building, then walks the block that contains the United Bank, the MIRRORED building, then walks into the courthouse. The Kanawha County Courthouse has an elaborate security system there almost like an airport where they take your purse, you walk through the machine that will ding if you have your keys or anything, and then sometimes they use their wand up and down you to do further checks. She makes it past the security detail, gets on the elevator, goes up to the second floor, stands in line, gets her food, back down the elevator, back out by the security people, back by the MIRRORED building, and she’s on the street getting ready to go back into her workplace, and Tal is driving down the street.
Tal hollers our her window at her, “Hey, Marge!” She says, “Oh, hey, Tal, how are you?” Tal says, “I’m good – come and get in my car.” Marge says, “I can’t, I’ve got my lunch and I’ve got to get back to work.” Tal says, louder (hollering across the street), “Marge, GET IN MY CAR!” Marge says, “Talia, I cannot get in your car – I’m going back to work!” So that then prompts Tal to scream (still hollering across the street), “You’ve got toilet paper hanging out of your pants!” Marge did not have a small scrap at the top of her pants, or even at the bottom of her pants – she had a TRAIL of toilet paper, leaving the waistband of her pants, going all the way to the ground, and trailing behind her!
Now, here’s the most interesting part of this story: Marge had traveled down two city blocks, twice going past a fully mirrored building, in through the security, up the elevator, stood in line at the snack place (who the owner is blind so we can’t blame him….) but how many people did she run into in that condition? Probably 20 at least! NO ONE was willing to tell her that she had a train of TP as long as a bridal gown. This is a funny story (not to Marge, if she’s reading this, I’m sure!) but it is an illustration of how we are not willing to say the hard things sometimes, you know, those things that you should say to a friend, “I love you, but you are so negative, you really bring me down sometimes. Can we work together on helping you find more positive things to talk about?” Or “I feel like sometimes you involve me in gossip that I don’t want to be involved in – can we pray together about that? I don’t want to lose our friendship.” Or the “I notice you seem to talk an awful lot about that co-worker, more so than you talk about your husband. Are you being tempted to do things that you shouldn’t be doing?”
Oh, I know, no one wants to butt their nose into anyone else’s business – and trust me, the last thing I need is my nose in someone’s business – but sometimes if you are a TRUE friend, you will speak the truth, in love, and that is what makes friendships grow and become a GODLY friendship, with no secrets, no lying, no evading of who we really are.
There is a scripture that is one of my favorite stories. It takes place in Numbers 22 – the whole chapter is riveting, but it’s the scripture where the donkey talks. If you don’t know the story, please go read it – it’s fascinating! But for me, the truth of that scripture this morning is, the donkey had eyes to see that the angels of the Lord were warning this man NOT to proceed through what he was doing, and the donkey ends up getting beat for trying to save his master from this peril he was headed into. When the donkey begins to talk, he says to his master (paraphrased) – “What is it you are beating on me? Have I ever done this to you before? Have I not carried your sorry rear end all over this country and never once run you into a wall or laid down on you before?” I laugh as I’m typing this, as I can just hear it….this donkey was saving his master from trouble, but the master wasn’t seeing what he was seeing and wasn’t accepting the warning gracefully.
Are you a friend who needs saved from what you’re involving yourself in? Or are you the friend who is too cowardly to speak the truth to your sister or your friend or your co-worker when you see them headed down a path of destruction? Let’s try to be REAL friends to each other – not backstabbers, not gossips, but Godly encouragement in the time of trouble. We’re in this thing together! And I PROMISE you, if I see you with a trail of TP behind you, I will get you in my car – LOL!
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.