Friendship In the Trenches

Posted: November 17, 2017 by keystoneyouth in Friends
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Attention Funnel: Friendship Battles (With Dental Mouth Openers)


  • Over the past two years… two horror stories have captivated audiences. Do you know what they are? You probably have heard of or seen both of them… Stranger Things and IT.
  • What do they have in common? The stories, while about fighting against evil forces, are really about friendship.
  • They either involve a group of friends growing closer as the fight together. Or a group that becomes friends as they fight together.
  • I bet if we would step back and think about the movies and stories that we love… many of them would involve this same concept.
    • Friends who are willing to stand side by side and fight together.
  • Luckily for us… we don’t have some alien running around our town.
  • Thank goodness for us… we don’t have some deranged clown living in our sewer system.
  • But it still remains true that friendships grow when we fight together.

Big Idea: Friendships grow deeper when you’re willing to fight for one another.

Passages: Proverbs 20:5; 27:6; 17:9; 2 Samuel 12:1-15; Matthew 18:23-35

 Fight for transparency (Proverbs 20:5).

  • Proverbs 20:5 rightfully says that what is happening in our hearts is like deep water.
  • The heart in the Bible is our control center… it encompasses all that goes on within us.
  • The heart gets exposed by our actions – how we live- and our words – what we say (Mark 7:20-23; James 3:10-12)
    • Inside Out – The Control Center was where the emotions were that then came out in both what the girl said and did.
    • If the heart is our control center… then it is massively important for friends to not just know the outside (what their friends look like), but also to know the inside (What they enjoy, how they respond in certain situations, what they struggle with, what their passionate about).
    • You cannot truly know someone unless you know their heart.
      • This probably sounds great to the girls sitting here and sounds absolutely awful to the guys sitting here.
      • Girls – “Yes, let’s go buy pumpkin spice lattes, stop at target, and then spend 6 hours pouring out our hearts to each other. And then afterward, we’ll watch a movie with Ryan Gosling in.”
      • Guys – “Yeah that sounds like a day of straight torture. Just give us a football and some firecrackers. Let us beat up on each other for a while and then blow some stuff up. Afterward we’ll watch movie with Ryan Gosling in, cause after all he’s a freaken stud, but we will NEVER tell a soul about it.”
    • Good friendships, like everything require a deeper understanding then just the external.
      • If you want to be a good mechanic… you need to know about the innerworkings of a car. Yes, it’s good to know about the outside, but if you don’t figure out what’s happening on the inside of the car… you’re a lousy mechanic.
        • Picture taking your car to a mechanic because it has a check engine light on. Later in the day, you call in to see if they found out what is wrong. The mechanic gets on the phone and says, “Well you have a 2012 VW GTI. It’s got a nice silver coat of paint. It has a little rust under the right-hand door. The windshield and mirrors look great. And you have four Good Year tires in good condition on 18” rims.”
      • Deep friendships require knowing more and more about what’s going on inside a person.
        • For girls, this may happen as you sit down around pumpkin spice lattes, or spend all night talking to each other.
        • For guys, it may happen more as you watch a movie, play a video game, or tackle each other out on a field.
      • But Proverbs warns us in advance that there is a problem. What is the problem?
        • It’s very hard to see what’s going on in someone’s heart.
      • Like deep water, we tend to hide from view what is really going on underneath.
        • I hate wading into murky water – at a pond or ocean. It’s hard for me to get my mind off of what is under that murky water. Most likely it’s either a snake, a Great White Shark or the Lochness Monster.  I would rather stay in the shallow areas where I can see clearly to the bottom.
      • A friendship that grows… requires treading into the deep water. And it requires both parties to be more and more transparent.
      • A good friend both makes an effort to be transparent and tries to draw out what is in the heart of other friends.
      • Apply:
        • I’m going to give you two secrets on how to get friends to be more transparent…
        • First of all,… you be honest and transparent. Don’t expect friends to do what you’re not willing to do.
        • Second of all, ask Questions! And more specifically ask why.
          • Why do you feel that way about your parents?
          • Why do you respond like that to your coach?
          • Why do you seem so frustrated, upset, angry, etc right now?

Be willing to wound one another (Proverbs 27:6).

  • We find this truth at work in the story of David and Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-15)
    • David no longer has Jonathan around as a close friend.
    • David has now been King for quite a few years. He has an air of invincibility around him.
    • David commits a very egregious sin… He has an adulterous affair with Bathsheba and then kills her husband to try to cover it up.
    • David, the man after God’s own heart, doesn’t even seem to realize how horrendous all this is. He has grown cold, and he has a massive blind spot to his sin.
  • Every car has a blind spot… that place between your peripheral vision and what you see in your mirrors. A blind spot can hide a car that you swerve in front of or turn into when changing lanes on a highway. If you don’t make an effort to check your blind spot… you can end up in a massive crash.
  • We all have blind spots in our lives as well. They are areas of sinfulness that remain hidden to us. For whatever reason, we simply miss that we are even doing something wrong or we convince ourselves that it really isn’t that bad.
    • We lie and say it was necessary.
    • We gossip or cheat and say, “Everyone does it.”
    • We mistreat someone else and don’t even realize how terrible it is.
    • My wife and my time. I need my wife to call me out when I am being overly selfish with my time… because I may not even recognize it.
  • We need friends who are willing to check our blind spots for us… to see what we can’t see.
    • And we need friends who will then speak up when necessary.
  • A friend is not someone who always tells you what you want to hear. A friend is someone who tells you what you need to hear.
  • This is exactly what Nathan does in this context.
    • Notice how Nathan goes about this task… he doesn’t storm into the Castle and say, “DAVID you two-timing piece of crap. What you did was terrible. You better shape up!”
    • He approaches David in a way that has been prayerfully considered and thought through.
      • Apply: Heat of the moment confrontation usually isn’t best. When you feel like you need to say something hard, take time to think, prepare, and pray about it before approaching.
    • Even having done all of this, Nathan knows he is still taking a risk. He is about to tell the King that he is wrong.
    • The King could respond by killing Nathan… off with his head.
  • When we confront a friend… we are taking a risk. They may not be able to chop off our head, but they may respond with anger or just be dismissive.
    • Confronting a friend is a bit like getting a colonoscopy. It is never something that is looked forward to, but it is absolutely necessary. Why?
  • The stakes are infinitely high.
    • You get a colonoscopy (after the age of 50) because Doctors are trying to protect you from something deadly… cancer.
    • You wound a friend by confronting them, addressing a blind spot, calling their bluff…because you want to protect them.
    • In the TV Show Sherlock, at one point Mary Watson, the wife of Sherlock’s best friend, shoots Sherlock right in the chest. It’s a horrible wound that almost ends up killing Sherlock.  Why would she ever do something like this??  Because the stakes were incredibly high. There is a criminal mastermind who is after Sherlock and John and in order to throw him off, Mary shoots Sherlock.  By wounding him, she is protecting him.
  • There is an enemy who is trying to kill and destroy you and your friend.
    • 1 Peter 5:8 – Satan’s goal is to destroy both you and your friend. He wants to take you down. He wants to separate you from God. He wants to blind you.
    • Hebrews 10:24-27 – Blind spots have serious consequences. If we deliberately go on in our sin, thinking it is no big deal and is justifiable, the writer of Hebrews warns us that this can have dire consequences.
  • Apply:
    • Friends wound each other in places where it seems like there is no fight against sin. Either because the other person doesn’t think what they are doing is wrong. Or they have given up fighting.
    • Because failing to wound them may mean something much worse.

Fight to give your friends what they don’t deserve. (Proverbs 17:9)

  • Friendships usually have a honeymoon period… We only apply this term to marriages, but it really applies to everything new that we experience.
  • After you get over that perhaps awkward first stage of friendship… there is a period in time where your friends seem almost perfect.
  • They seem like they can do no wrong. You are convinced that you have found the perfect friend. They are like your favorite song on repeat. You just can’t get enough.
  • But if your friendships last long enough… something always happens, no matter how good the friend… things get messy.
    • Friends offend you.
    • They say an off the cuff remark that really hurts.
    • They can’t keep their big mouth shut and they let out a secret you shared with them.
    • They let you down. They were supposed to be there for you and they dropped the ball.
    • They get in a fight with you. You both say things you wish you could take back.
    • They wound without any good intention.
  • Friendship… if it lasts long enough will get messy. Because anytime that you have two sinful people in relationship with one another, it gets messy.
  • And we often have two tendencies when messes happen… 1) Run for it or 2) Make a bigger mess.
  • I have a tendency to run from messes.
    • I imagine that when Bri and I have a child, I am probably going to run from dirty diapers. If I’m in the room and I smell poop, I plan on quietly slipping out of the room, and saying something like, “Bri can you take a turn watching Galen Jr.”
  • This can be a tendency in our friendships as well. As soon as it gets messy we simply run from it.
    • We say things like, “It just didn’t work out.” “They changed.” “We don’t get along anymore.” “We both needed a break from each other.” But all these phrases can just cover over the fact that it got messy and we ran.
  • Another response we have, is to make the mess even worse.
    • The sink is already full of dishes, I’ll just add a few more. My room already has clothes all over the place, what’s another sweatshirt?
  • When we have this response in our friendships… we are determined to get even.
    • You wounded me. Now I’m going to wound you.
    • You said something hurtful to me, so I’m not going to talk to you for a week.
    • You broke my red wider wagon so I’m going to slash the tires on your red rider wagon… that one escalated pretty quicklyJ.
    • It’s only fair after all, right??? They hurt us, so it is only fair that we get to hurt them back.
      • My brothers would get so mad at me because as the youngest child I would annoy them or purposely aggravate them and then they would respond and I would immediately run to mom. And their response was “But He deserved it!”
    • Any time a friend wrongfully wounds you, they deserve to be wounded in return.
  • But there is another way to respond to the messiness of friendship… to not run and to not make the mess worse…
  • It’s to look at a friend who has hurt you and say, “I’m going to give you what you don’t deserve.” I’m going to show you grace.
    • Me taking my Dad’s credit card to buy gas. Him sitting me down at the kitchen table, he should have lit into me. He should’ve told me what a terrible person I was. He should’ve told me I’m grounded, kicked out of the house, etc. But he just sat down across from me and gently asked, “Kyle what is wrong. What’s going on?” He showed genuine concern where I really didn’t deserve it.
  • And we know the greatest example of this is the gospel…
    • We wound God, we steal from him, we hate him. And he gives us what we don’t deserve… grace in Christ to forgive us.
    • He could give us what is fair… he could ream us out, punish us, kick us to the curb. But instead he gives us grace. And that grace is the basis of our relationship with him.
  • And God’s response to us when we receive that grace is… now you go and do likewise. Forgive those who wrong you… give them what they don’t deserve.
  • Fighting for this grace is what keeps our friendships going and growing through all the messiness.
  • I think part of the reason God puts us in friendships is because he knows there will be ample opportunities to display grace
  • Apply:
    • This grace confronts friends when they wrong us and hurt us.
    • This grace even cuts off friendships when necessary.
    • But this grace forgives.
    • It doesn’t harbor grudges.
    • It doesn’t make the other person look bad, even if the friendship has ended.
    • And it consistently fights for the good of those you call friends.

 So What??

  • If you want your friendships to grow deeper…
    • Fight for honesty and transparency.
    • Be ready to confront and wound friends when it is necessary.
    • Look for opportunities to show grace to one another.

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