When my girls were teens and trying to show their independence, they asked me if we could be friends instead of having the traditional parent/child relationship. Of course, I thought about it for oh… 2 seconds and in a motherly tone said that I was their mom, not their friend. I continued to explain that they already had friends but only one mom, me. I also told them when they become adults, our relationship would transition to be more like friends but until then it was my duty, as a parent to lead, guide and direct them. At that time, they did not really understand the privilege and responsibility of being a parent; they just wanted to be free and independent.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other (John 15: 12-17).
The relationship between Jesus and his disciples would change in the hours to come. Jesus now called them his friends, even though he knew one of them was going to betray him, one of them would deny him and all of them would dessert him in his time of greatest need. He still claimed them as friends. He also shared that he had chosen them to be his disciples and now friends. He knew what would happen and yet he still picked them. I am sure that I would not have chosen people who would betray me, deny me and leave me when I needed them most to be my friends. I have spent a great deal of time this week pondering this biblical conversation and I find it reassuring that despite the times when I do deny Christ, or betray Christ or desert Christ, he still loves me. We do not need to have our lives altogether or even worked out to be his friend. The disciples certainly did not have their acts together nor did they understand the full measure of what Jesus was saying to them or the grace that he offered to them. However, after Jesus’ resurrection, and being filled with the promised Holy Spirit, they were unstoppable in their commitment to tell others about their friend Jesus. Jesus had chosen his friends well. Do we, as followers of Christ, filled with the same Holy Spirit, share a commitment to our friend Jesus with the same passion?
Even though I have fallen short many times in my relationship with Jesus as well as with my girls, I can truly say that I have a great friendship with both. Like Jesus, I chose my daughters and despite all of the times of trial they gave me as a parent, I love them completely. I now can call them friends, however, I must confess that it is really special when they call me just because they want to talk to their mom.