I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.
It is because friends have meant so much to me through the years that I am moved by today’s Scripture where Jesus tells His followers: “I have called you friends.” Notice that Jesus says He calls them friends, “because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” For Jesus, being a friend means holding nothing back, being self-revealing and transparent. He knows that friends don’t keep secrets from each other, or try to hide what is bothering them. Friendships grow when friends are open and honest with each other, and friendship with God grows when we are open and honest with Him. Sharing confidences builds confidence.
Veteran spiritual director William Barry draws the comparison between friendship and prayer:
Prayer is a rather simple thing when you get down to it. It’s just two friends hanging out with each other, sharing thoughts and feelings, asking and giving forgiveness, asking and giving advice. Prayer is what happens when two friends are together and are aware of each other’s presence. (Praying the Truth)
When you talk with God honestly about your thoughts and feelings, about something bothering you, you aren’t informing God about anything. God already knows. Rather than giving God information, you are giving Him trust. Just as we feel special and trusted when a friend shares with us, so does God when we trust Him with what we are thinking and feeling. And, our relationship with Him grows.
William Barry says that we can know that a friendship is in trouble when we feel we are “walking on eggshells with a friend.” We don’t have to walk on eggshells with God. We can always be open and honest with Him.
Think for a moment. Is there something you have avoided taking up with God? Is there something you are worried about, and feel embarrassed to admit to Him that you are worrying? Do you have bad feelings toward someone, and are reluctant to bring it up to God? Is there a temptation you are struggling with, or a sin, and hadn’t dared to talk to God about it? But God already knows these things about you, and longs for you to talk with Him as friends.
You would please God to trust this part of yourself to Him. Why not take a few moments now to talk with God about this thing you have avoided bringing to Him. Don’t hold back. I find it helpful to sometimes write about this in my prayer journal and to see it there in black and white.
After you have talked with God, take a few moments to sit quietly with Him. What do you sense God might be saying to you in these moments? What do you want to say to Him in response? This is really praying! You are two friends hanging out with each other!
You and God will probably want to talk further about all of this, but you’ve made a great start! You never have to walk on eggshells with God. He’s a good enough Friend to be ready for anything you need to tell Him. Trust Him!
Grace and peace,