topics worth the tussle #3: pals, buddies, friends, amigos

“Topics Worth the Tussle” is a series of themes to look at in light of your campus ministry. Whether it’s to teach these topics or just to examine how well your students are living them out, I bet they’re worth the tussle. (And in many cases, they’re topics that don’t always receive too much attention.)

A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 ESV)

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Rom 12:9-10 ESV)

How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore. (Psalm 133, NIV2011)

Every one of your students will have more friendships in their life than they’ll have romantic relationships. (Go ahead, think about it. That’s true, right?)

But as college ministers, most of us (me included) talk about Dating more than we zero in on Friendship. Sure, Dating will catch our students’ attention better, and in some senses it’s probably fraught with a little more peril (or the peril can be a little more… perilous?) Our students’ minds aren’t preoccupied with finding “a friend” quite like they are with finding “that special someone.” So it’s easy to ignore this very vital topic.

Friendship also seems… easier, right? But is it really? Is the average student in your ministry doing what it takes to be a good friend?

It seems like our campus ministries should be factories for good friends, people who live out Romans 12 or I Corinthians 13 or all of Proverbs not only with spouses but also with pals. I figure this topic is one that’s worth the tussle – and to really go where we need to go, teaching biblical Friendship may indeed involve some tussle!

What in the world might happen if your students really did “outdo one another in showing honor” or really, regularly obeyed the commands to bear one another’s burdens, encourage, admonish, pray for each other, and everything else that being a good friend means?

The happy statue above from Colorado School of Mines is actually called “A Friend to Lean On” (by Robin J. Laws).

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