There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friend.
Why does the guy all about love, tell us in it’s greatest form, love lays down its life for a friend?
Not for their child. Not for a parent. Not for a sibling, cousin, or grandchild.
But for a friend.
Pop inside almost any church anywhere in the world and you’ll get an immediate impression of the importance of family. In the Bible belt, they’ll even go a step further into “family values”.
We hold family high above our friendships. Friends come and go through our lives like the passing seasons, while we stick like glue to family members we don’t even like. Family feels like the greatest love. There’s a certain weight in our hearts, a natural instinct if you will, to sacrifice for and pledge loyalty to our family.
Yet, Jesus didn’t say the greatest love was to your own bloodline. In fact, He’s the one who tells us to hate our father, mother, brothers and sisters in comparison to our love for him.
Those twelve closest to him weren’t family. They traveled with him, learned from him, and most of them ultimately died for him, and they weren’t related to him.
They were his friends.
This is why I believe He says the love of a friend is greatest.
Friendship doesn’t come with a built in instinct to be on the same team, fully committed to not just lay down one’s life, but live one’s life alongside another. It must be offered freely. A risk must be taken to love a friend, for they may not love you back. They may turn their back on you, abandoned you, or worst of all...sell you for thirty pieces of silver.
Friends are an active choice. You choose to be in the life of a friend. You make conscious decisions to call, invite, and invest in their world.
I’ve had many choose to come into mine...
The college friends who fought alongside me for my sisters.
The TV News friends who understood a few office tears falling.
The California friends who help me navigate this strange new dream.
And the best friend...who knows where all the bodies are buried.