What can we all expect from a true friend? Well, the apostle Paul commented to his friend, Philemon that he anticipated, expected something out of their friendship. In Philemon verse 20 he said: “I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord…”
Paul asked that his room in Philemon’s house be prepared for a potential visit. But more importantly, he asked that Philemon “refresh his heart in Christ.”
Now, there are many ways we can refresh the heart of our friends. We can share meals, enjoy activities together, pray fervently for needs, support them financially, or sit quietly and just listen. But there is another precious way we can refresh the hearts of our dear friends. In our transparency, we can learn to speak some truths in love.
Perhaps with a broken heart, we can say, “I need help.” And in that way, we give others the opportunity to help carry heavy burdens (Gal. 6:2). Remember, a friend is one who walks in when others walk out (Walter Winchell).
We can express our regrets and ask for forgiveness. We can say, “I was wrong, please forgive me.” Real friends are convinced that when we make a fool of ourselves, it is not a permanent job. They are ready to forgive and restore the relationship. They are anxious to refresh our hearts in Christ.
Another benefit from a true friend is the freedom to correct each other. The scriptures tell us that the wounds from a friend can be trusted…they can be trusted to be helpful, instructive and not vindictive. As Oscar Wilde once said, “A true friend always stabs you in the front.”
This week, maybe we ought to muse a bit on the fact that Paul expected something out of his friendship with Philemon. It wasn’t a surface relationship. He wanted and needed a safe place that could quite literally refresh his soul.
Do you have a friend like that? Treasure them! If you do not, find one. Invest in your relationship. Godly friendships have wonderful benefits!