Jon Leighton: Welcome to the first in what is sure to be a series of many posts by two sensational authors. The internet’s best kept secrets. That’s right, Jared Allen the anonymous novelist and Jon Leighton…the other guy, will be teaming up to tackle topics ranging from biblical to political and everywhere in between.

Even though Jared is a few years younger than me, God has used him to teach me quite a bit, and encourage me in ways of which he has had no idea until today. While we both shared similar occupations, backgrounds, and interests, Jared had a deep understanding of a subject to which I was quite ill equipped: friendship.

I had always made the assumption that friendship was founded upon location, and built with hours of “hangout time.” So, when you spend 365 days of the year on a bus, traveling the country, how do you make real friends? Nothing irritates me more concerning the topic of friendship than when people claim friends who are not truly close, and I can say with complete surety that Jared is my friend. God continues to reveal through scripture and men like Jared some foundational principles of friendship. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13

What is friendship? The ability and willingness to lay down whatever is consuming your time to make time for the needs of someone else. Laying down your “life” for a second to elevate someone else’s. Friendship, as the verse implies is built upon love. This Christ-centric love can be shown through intentional communication, laughter, prayer, and even sharing life’s stupid moments.

Jon: Do you remember how we became friends?

Jared: I remember that it was at Singing in the Sun in Myrtle Beach, SC. Maybe five years ago….

Jon: Yep! Spring of 2011. This random lady walks up to us and asks if we can help take her table product to her van. Several of us, Colby Starkel, Kari Gooch, and a few others, after helping were rewarded with some cash. Being the ministry kids that we are, we voted no better way to spend it than at a fast food restaurant. The journey across the street would prove to hold several great memories!

Jared: Fun times… as I recall, someone convinced the group that McDonald’s was open 24 hours a day and we all made our way there. However, our information was faulty. Apparently the store isn’t open 24 hours, just the drive-thru. We ended up walking about ½ mile further down the main drag to a Krispy Kreme donut shop; it was a crazy night. I’ve found that a good friendship means you do crazy things just for the sake of being together.

Jon: Exactly! Okay, confession time…it was me that swore the McDonalds was open 24 hours. I had this thing where I was convinced I was always right. And I’d say one quality to an awesome friendship is being willing to listen, even when you KNOW the other person is full of it!

Jared: Well, that wasn’t the end of the McDonald’s adventure. My Josh, and a few of the others… Jared Stuffle and Valerie Crist, suggested we walk through the drive through in an invisible car. It almost worked.
What are friends for if you can’t laugh together? Or at least laugh at their expense when they try to walk a drive thru.

Jon: I don’t remember who drove the car, all I remember is us lining up like we were a minivan and chasing after French fries at midnight. Well, at least until they threatened to call the police. That’s the fastest our car had EVER moved. Yes, I think it was at that moment when several near strangers clicked and bonded. Adversity has a way of uniting people.

Jared: Nothing brings people together faster than a police chase in a McDonald’s parking lot.

Jon: I think our invisible car could have outrun them; but I was outvoted. That was where our friendship began. Maybe all you readers out there are like me. You have a thousand acquaintances, but at the end of the day, you’re looking for a real friend. Take heart! This random, crazy encounter actually holds several keys to unlocking friendship. And now, with Jared as our guide, we’ll begin to walk through those doors.

Jared: Thanks Jon. Friends are great to have around and just be crazy with. It’s nice to be able to be yourself without a fear of being judged or ridiculed. But, a friend is so much more than just a person who you hang out with and can act normal around. The Bible gives us some clear keys as to what a friend is, most of which are found in Proverbs.

FRIENDSHIP IS COMMITMENT:

-Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

This is the first explanation in scripture of friendship, and it is a doozy. Akin to the first commandment: love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might, the first identifier of a true friend is unceasing love. A love that is constant is the first characteristic of a friend: for a friend loveth at all times.

FRIENDSHIP IS HONESTY:

-Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

This is probably my favorite characteristic of a friend and it is simply: a friend is not afraid to call you out, to tell you when you’re wrong, and to beat some sense into you. You know you have a real friend when you can tell them things they don’t want to hear, and they listen and try to make things right. You know you have a true friend when they call you out when you mess up; their love for you makes them say what you don’t want to hear.

FRIENDSHIP IS UNDERSTANDING:

-Proverbs 27:14 He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.

I like this because it is so true. A friend just knows you; they know your likes and dislikes. A friend won’t get up early and starting banging on things and singing loudly just because they want you awake. If you can take a joke, then your friend will know that. But, being awakened by an obnoxious noise early in the morning has happened to all of us at one time or another, and we don’t typically think very friendly thoughts in those situations.

FRIENDSHIP IS SYMBIOTIC:

-Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Finally, a friend makes you a better person. A friend sharpens you in the Word of God, quickens your mind, drives you to be the best you possibly can, and is always behind you 100%. A friend makes you a better you. That’s how you know it’s a true friend, and I know that I have found a true friend in Jon Leighton. Just for getting on board with this crazy joint-blog post idea is his way of saying, “I’ve got your back, I’m behind you in this, man.”. Well, that and he wants to make himself famous by the exposure my name will give him in this post. 😛

Each of these 4 areas: commitment, honesty, understanding, and symbiosis, require intentional action on both parts. Friendship is an active relationship, both to begin and to keep. Be intentional about showing people you care through how you treat them and their friendship.

Well, thanks for reading. It’s been fun and hopefully there will be more Jon and Jared posts to follow. In the meantime, you can follow Jon here.

As always, thanks for reading.

the anonymous novelist

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