I think the best friendship anyone can have is with Jesus. If we have a close relationship with Jesus he calls us his friend. We are no longer slaves but friends. Jesus calls me a friend. I do not think that is by accident. A friend loves at all times. God loves at all times. I want to be the friend who loves at all times.
We do not enter into a friendship with the mentality of ” What can I get out of this friendship?” Well, maybe we do start out there. However eventually, you want to be the good friend and give of yourself not just in entertainment but in helpful virtue. God is not just a good time or even a genie granting wishes of what you want. Real friendship is about asking God, “What can I do for you today?” Until we get to that step, God is just your buddy to whom you periodically ask of him to be a part of your life. It is when you willing serve a friend that you are a friend.
Maybe fair weather friends are enough for you on earth. You only have to follow the commandment to love God with your whole heart, your whole mind and the rest really does fall into place. Somehow, you can forget the step two of loving others as you love yourself. Is it possible to love God without loving others? Maybe if you really do not love yourself you are off the hook. Believing things like, “Actually, I don’t think you would like me much.” Or “I am not a good care taker.” sounds more like an excuse than lovingly trying to care for others. By caring for others we care for ourselves in the ways we need. Who gets what they want when two people want opposite things and both seem to be inline with God’s plan? Maybe it is not about getting what you want but both growing in virtue.
I may be wrong but I think in any addiction (and we are all addicted to something) the help to alleviating it is being a good friend. Being a good friend to God and being a good friend to others. Granted sometimes you can not figure out how to be a person’s friend because of some ill fitting impurity. Yet, in most cases friendship is exactly what will be put in motion for giving each person a better life on earth as it is in heaven too. Giving that feeling of acceptance and love is what I think we are called to do. To truly love our neighbors.
I think there is so much damage in isolation or ignoring. I think isolation and ignoring is what very likely will make a simple addiction much worse. Ask any addict to the chemical cocktail of drugs, alcohol, porn, gambling, food, love or whatever the vice and they will likely tell you it started because they had a lack of deep connection. Lack of a deep connection to God and/or a lack of deep connection to at least one person in humanity. Therefore, virtuous friendship has to be the remedy to addictions.
There is wisdom out there that states to ignore your vice. Granted there is a time and place for that truth. An alcoholic doesn’t go to a bar, pour a drink, hold it, bring it to their lips and think well this isn’t working…down the chute. No, likely that would be the very practice of a downward spiral to the rabbit hole. A good friend would not knowingly force a drink on an alcoholic. That is not a good friend. Surprisingly, cliff pushing is not a virtue or a healthy friend either. A healthy marriage only allows for healthy friendships.
There is this TED talk that stats that the American society has got addiction all wrong. We spend time isolating a person with an addiction. Shaming them. Demanding that they get better. His solution is to be a friend. He further explains as I just tried to that the deep down core reason why someone is addicted to something is because they wanted to be among friends. They want acceptance, understanding, forgiveness, and kindness. God gives that in abundance. They want a friendship full of virtue. First off the quality of real life friendships is reflective of the friendship you have with Jesus. Once you get your depth right with Jesus in friendship other friendships are easier to hold that same kind of depth.
Here is the TED talk on Addictions that I am referring to.
If you know an addict sometimes it is really excruciating hard to be their friend. They just keep on choosing what was good for them in the moment instead of what is best for everyone. I think as Catholic Christians we are called to be their friend. A friend may eventually convict them in their activities. A true friend will do that, a good time only friend just moves on to the next friend.
So the other day I heard a friend comment on the use of words and it convicted me. Yeah, you’re right I should likely choose a better word to say when I am upset. There is power in the name of Jesus. There is also power in the things I say in anger or even in frustration. There are better choice words when I stub my toe, or whatever the case that caused unfiltered rambling. My internal dialog should not consist of swear words. How odd it would be to hear that a saint cussed in a certain atmosphere. Likely, just trying to make that choice of a different word would convey a deeper respect for what needs to be worked on.
Great you say, just another thing added to the multi-millions of things that needs to be worked on. That is not what I said to myself, well maybe at first, but after that I thought the friend was right and was a great friend for bringing their perspective to my attention.
We are to love one another. Our words have power beyond belief. A priest can make Jesus be present in the Eucharist by the use of his mere voice. (And the awesome presence of the Holy Spirit) Things are only easy, the burden is light if you take on the yoke with Jesus. It is not easy for me so I must not be walking in complete step with the ox beside me. We are called to walk with your friends.
Jesus calls me a friend because I know what he is doing. Pray for me to not loose hope and I will pray for you to also not loose hope. Thanks be to God that he has given us his word to guide us, to love us, and to know that we have a friend in Jesus.