I have a birthday in a week. It’s pretty hard not to wax nostalgic and do a bit of soul searching as we draw closer to the end of life than we are to the beginning. I remember two years ago and how “popular” I was. Looking out at a sea of faces at my “Burn In Hell” CD release party knowing how temporary everything was.

Yes, I had been “popular” before and I knew that as soon as something different, interesting or more promising of immediate gratification presents itself, “friends” get “busy.” I remember Joan Jett’s classic song, FAKE FRIENDS, written about how shunned she was after the demise of  The Runaways. Little did she know that decades later a film would be made about her and all her old “friends” would suddenly be available to hang out again.

This would be the downside of being an established artist. People love you when you are hot and disappear when you are not. But all along they keep trying to convince you that they are your friends. Isn’t that something we should decide for ourselves? Shouldn’t I be the one to point to the people I call friend and not the other way around?

Jesus took it upon Himself to identify His friends as the persons who did His will. He also stated, “Why do you say that you love Me and not do what I say?”  I am grateful for all of the people God has placed on my path in this life to encourage and inspire me. I am not into some spiritual mumbo-jumbo that says that God is responsible for all of the idiots (a-holes, actually), meanies, bullies and liars I’ve come to trust til betrayal.

Nope, you were a gift from the “other” god, Lucifer and you are not welcome at my table. At least not under the guise of friend.

One day a year I want to look people in the eye and tell only the truth: friends are not mean, friends are not bullies, and friends are not liars. If I have been any of those to you, I am truly sorry. If you have been any of those to me, repent or move aside as there are a handful of sweet, genuine people who really have committed their hearts to mine who would never dream of violating me.

The greatest of all, of course, is Jesus. What a friend I have in Jesus. I cannot remember a day when he was mean, two-faced, arrogant, cruel or absent. On the contrary. He’s always there with a hopeful word, a gentle push in the right direction and a huge heart full of love, humor, irony and forgiveness. 

Jesus set the bar, folks. He would never be the voice of doubt, fear, condemnation or death in my life so why would He assign that task to any of you?

You who love me, thank you. You who like me, thanks for trying to love me. You who tolerate me, give up. I’m only going to get worse. Lol

I encourage you as I feel encouraged to look at Christ’s behavior toward His people since His ascension. This seems to be how we are called to treat our family and friends. Yes, we must challenge one another at times but that is at His leading not ours. How do you tell the difference? The more I resist, the more right you are = you are doing this for yourself- not Him or me.

 My birthday gift to my friends and family is to love Jesus more, aspire to be more like Him and to tell the truth in love: His love, as much like Him as know how to. And to call a friend a friend.

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