A few months ago I was with my three younger sisters enjoying a chocolate latte at our favorite local coffee shop. We were laughing, chatting, and sharing the latest in our lives.
Then I spotted a girl in the most adorable dress walking by the window.
“Whoa! Check out that adorable, green, sparkly dress.” I interrupted my sisters to point out the amazing piece of fashion in my view.
As I expected, they let out squeals of delight and stared shamelessly at the beautiful (and surprisingly modest) green, sparkly dress.
The Real Show Stopper
What caught our attention next captivated us even more than the dress.
This adorable girl in her beautiful dress was heading to prom (or a fancy event of some sort) with a guy in a wheelchair. From my window seat, it looked like he had been born with some sort of birth defect that prevented him from walking or using his body for normal, everyday functions.
Despite his disabilities, he looked like he was on top of the world.
The girl in the green, sparkly dress was laughing and simply having a fabulous time with her friend.
We watched until the cute couple completely left our sight. As they were getting ready to round the corner and go out of view, the girl hopped on the back of her friend’s wheelchair, and he drove them down the walkway.
That scene was a sweet picture of love and friendship that I’m sure I will never forget.
An Image of True Friendship
Watching that adorable couple convicted me on a few different levels. I was reminded of the building blocks God gives us in His Word for true friendship. Here are three of them:
1. Friendships should be built upon self-sacrifice.
Way too often I look at my friends and think, What can they do for me? Friendships should not be based on my selfishness, but on an attitude of love and sacrifice.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4).
The girl in the green, sparkly dress showed me a picture of true love and selflessness. Instead of trying to grab all of the attention for herself on her big night, she appeared to be focused on her friend. What a great example of Christ-like selflessness.
2. Friendships should be about the inward not the outward.
Have you ever found yourself wanting to be friends with the “cool” people or the “popular” people? Me too! We need to remember that every person in the world (“cool” or not) is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), has a soul (Gen. 2:7), and will live for eternity (Matt. 25:46). We should never choose our friends based on how pretty, cool, popular, or cute they are. Instead, we should look for friends who care about things like purity, righteousness, and wisdom.
“For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7b).
The girl in the green, sparkly dress was not basing her friendship on the superficial. She was more focused on the inward rather than the outward.
3. Friendships should be built upon Jesus’ example.
God’s love for us is based on forgiveness, grace, and self-sacrifice. Do you love your friends like God loves you? I have a long way to go in this area! The girl in the green, sparkly dress reminded me to love others like God loves me.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
A true friendship is based on God-defined love. You may not necessarily “give up your life” for your friend, but you can give up pieces of your life. You can give your time, energy, encouragement, support and so much more. There are so many ways for us to give ourselves to our friends just like Christ gave Himself for us.
Imitating the Girl in the Green, Sparkly Dress
I want to encourage each one of us to have the attitude of the girl in the green, sparkly dress and to love our friends with a selfless, giving love. We need to choose our friends based on who they are on the inside, not just who they appear to be on the outside. We need to think of them above ourselves.
I want to challenge you to think of one person to show this kind of love. How can you go out of your way to love that person?