The most popular college course at Yale (and maybe the whole country) at the moment is Laurie Santos’ aptly nicknamed “Happiness Class.” Considering happiness leads us to the natural question: What’s one thing that would make you happier?
The possible answers are innumerable, of course, but surely there are trends. Many people would look to circumstances like increased money or health to increase their happiness, but statistics show that our external circumstances account for only about 10% of our happiness! Besides our natural inclinations (genetics) for happiness, the largest contributing factor is — the quality of our relationships!
The Bible has been bearing witness to this truth for millenia. Man and woman were created for relationship (Gen. 2:18.) And when sin enters the picture in the garden, it is expressed as a damaged relationship (blame): She gave me the fruit! (Gen. 3:12).
In Romans 7:7-12, Paul gets vulnerable about another phenomenon that divides real friendships — covetousness. Each of us struggles with it at some level, if we’re honest.
So sometimes we make due with lesser types of friendships: digital friendships, transactional friendships, and one-dimensional (superficial) friendships. Consider the irony that across the globe we are more “connected” than ever, and yet more lonely than ever, too. There has perhaps never been a greater need for us to seek out real friendships.
- When we were five years old, we could just walk up to someone and say, “Do you want to be friends?” How would it change our interactions with people if we could see them as their 5-year-old selves?
- Who is God calling me to befriend this week? With whom am I being led into a more real friendship?
- Consider: what is it like for others to have you as a friend?