We need real friends, Godly ones, who have integrity and vision. People need real friends. Every time I come back from outreach it is reinforced more and more on my heart. I stand there with a stack of tracts in my hand and people look at you sideways because what your doing is unnatural. You are invading their space with something and many of them don't know if you are going to condemn them or lay something deep on them that they just aren't ready to hear.
I was thinking this morning about people's loyalty to comedians. People feel close to funny friendly people. We might say, 'People love to laugh and so people love comedians because they make them laugh.'. True but I think it goes deeper. People associate laughter with friendship and people want to love and be loved. Successful comedians use pain and shame skillfully. They laugh at it and invite the audience into the joke. They make fools of themselves or of others and provide the surface conditions of friendship. People miss them when they are gone even though they didn't know them. People feel close to them even though they can be lonely distant people in private.
Most surveys asking women about qualities they find attractive in men include a, 'Must make me laugh.' somewhere at the top of the list. There is security in that. A different kind of security than the financial kind but it is still security oriented. Some one who makes you laugh is your friend and friends shouldn't betray you should they?
"Now go and write down these words. Write them in a book. They will stand until the end of time as a witness that these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay attention to the LORD's instructions. They tell the seers, 'Stop seeing visions!' They tell the prophets, 'Don't tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies. Forget all this gloom. Get off your narrow path. Stop telling us about your 'Holy One of Israel.' ' This is the reply of the Holy One of Israel: 'Because you despise what I tell you and trust instead in oppression and lies, calamity will come upon you suddenly - like a bulging wall that bursts and falls. In an instant it will collapse and come crashing down. You will be smashed like a piece of pottery - shattered so completely that there won't be a piece big enough to carry coals from a fireplace or a little water from the well.' This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: 'Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it." - Isaiah 30:8-15 NLT
Holiness is where we find true friendship. The King is full of joy but He does not always make us laugh. The prophet provides clarity and not just comedy. They might be funny or serious but they aren't superficial.
If you are popping movies into the VCR or it's more modern equivalent to find friendship in your dark times then maybe you are looking in the wrong place for comfort. Ouch. That is hard saying for some I know but it is false comfort. It is false friendship.
Back to outreach. When you are the fool with the stack of tracts in your hand. A different kind of fool. A vulnerable person reaching out and befriending someone in front of a store, or in a parking lot or in their doorway. Not to condemn them but to reach out and give them the hope that you have. You offer friendship of a different order to people. Deep loyal forever friendship.
It is sad that many people who evangelize are legalistic idiots. They are out because their condemning message drives them. I wish it wasn't that way.
I am just out there to befriend people... and more importantly to introduce people to God who is the best friend they could ever have. It is amazing to be out in some parking lot praying with someone as they pour out their heart saying things about their lives to me that I know many people who are close to them don't often or ever hear. I am broken sitting here and typing this with tears welling up in my eyes. It is miraculous in one way but it makes perfect sense in another. People aren't finding love in the places they are looking for it.
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." - Proverbs 17:17 ESV
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." - Matthew 28:19-20 ESV
God is our friend. Jesus is our friend. He doesn't always make us laugh but He gives us deep joy and He isn't angry and lonely in private.