One Sunday, while at MFC, we were singing “Friend of God”. We had a “special guest” minister in the service. And the special guest minister got up on the stage and had them stop singing the song. This minister looked out over the audience with a very upset look on his face. And he told us that we should not sing songs like that. Because we are not friends of God. We are children of God.
I seem to remember this guy telling us things that we should not do almost every time that he came to our church. I never left a service that he preached feeling uplifted or that my walk with Christ was better for hearing what he had to say. He was always bashing on the Baptists and saying things that would make you question if this man understood what love was. This minister was supposedly a prophet, although, I can't tell you one single prophecy that he gave that came true. I can think of some that did not come true... but I digress. Former pastor loved to have this guy in there so he came frequently. This morning was the icing on the cake for me.
Forget the fact that I actually liked this song, there was something really wrong with his statement. I did not know how to back up my belief though. After I left there, I very quickly found this passage of Jesus talking to his disciples in the NIV. It really helped to confirm in me how much I needed to be away from that place.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 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. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
By the way, after that Sunday morning we never sang “Friend of God” in that church again. That song became taboo. The way that minister handled that song was not out of a spirit of love or correction. Instead it was like so many other times, a spirit of control. It was the little things like this that they tell you not to do. So you do not do it - for them. But after awhile they begin to make the demands larger and larger until you realize that you are just like a little puppet on a string. You have bought their lies. You have given up your right to think and discern things for yourself. Some would call it brainwashing. Others call it cult-like.
So I have been sitting back thinking lately about my relationship with my father. Yes, I am his child. That is an obvious observation. But are we friends? Can a father and son be friends also? Well, if a father is abusive or neglectful then I don't think that the child will want to be friends with their father. Or if the child goes off on some wild tare and seeks to destroy anything and everything the father has worked towards, then the father will have a hard time being friends with his son. But most people, I believe, in time, become friends with their parents, at least to some degree. So why could we not become friends with God? God is not abusive or neglectful and all he asks of us is to love other people. That is the only qualification Jesus gives us.
Does anyone have any other thoughts on this? Can your son or daughter become your friend?