A Contract of Friendship, from I Corinthians 13
Love is Patient. I will be patient. I know that you are not perfect. We are all sinners, works in progress, and I will be patient when you do things that irritate me, when you don’t act how I would, and when you don’t live up to my expectations. I will not react quickly in anger, but patiently bear all things that are just different from me.
Love is Kind. I will be kind. I will speak to you with gentleness and with the tone of voice that is fitting for a son or daughter of God. I will treat you with respect. I will not put you down or sarcastically demean you.
Love does not envy. I will rejoice with you when you rejoice, not envying you or the work God is doing in your life. I will not question your motives and agendas in a distrustful way. I will look for ways to encourage you in your moments of joy.
Love does not boast. I will not boast in front of you blatantly in order to get attention. When I do talk excitedly about an event in my life, please see that I’m trying to share my joy. I will be tactful in areas that I know might be more difficult for you to hear.
Love is not proud. I will not proudly think I am always right and that I always know the best way. I’ll humbly listen to your ideas and thoughts and dreams. When you share your struggles, I will not lord them over you and think of how much better I am than you.
Love does not dishonor others. I will not dishonor you by talking badly about you to others. What you share with me in confidence, I will not talk about to others. I will not talk rudely to you about people or circumstances either.
Love is not self-seeking. I will not be self-seeking, looking for you to fill all my needs. That is setting you up for failure, for the only One who can fill my needs is Christ. I will appreciate your friendship simply for all that it is. I know that there will be times when you will not be for me everything I’d like you to be, but I’ll not expect you to fill this – I will be thankful for all that you are.
Love is not easily angered. I will not be easily angered when offended. I won’t jump to the worst conclusions or fly off the handle.
Love keeps no record of wrongs. I know you will not be perfect either, and I will not keep a record of how you’ve wronged me. When you ask for my forgiveness, and I grant it, I will not bring it up to you again or hold it against you.
Love does not delight in evil. I will not delight in evil, but will seek to live in the light. If I see you tangled in sin, it will be kind of me to mention it to you in a gentle, healing way, coming along side and praying for the right words at the right time. If I’m just annoyed over something, however, I will love you patiently.
Love rejoices in the truth. I will not lie to you. I will not hide my faults or pretend I am something that I’m not. I will speak truth in love.
Love always protects. I will protect you and our friendship. I will protect what you’ve said in confidence. I will defend you to others. I will reconcile if life gets hard between us.
Love always trusts. I will trust what you say, and not doubt or second guess. I will trust you enough to share my life and desires and hopes and dreams and struggles with you. I will trust that you will do your best to love me in return.
Love always hopes. I hope that our friendship will continue to grow, so that we can experience unity in Christ as Jesus taught. I have a solid hope that one day, we’ll live together in eternity, and all walls and barriers to friendships will be gone, and we will finally experience what love truly is.
Love always perseveres. I will persevere in this friendship. I will seek reconciliation. I will humble myself and ask forgiveness when times get hard. I will ask God to fill me with love for you beyond my own abilities, because love comes from Him.
I know that you won’t be able to fulfill this perfectly, and I’m absolutely certain I won’t be able to either. But together, trusting in Christ, we can persevere in this, because His grace is greater than all our sins.
I'm so thankful for the friendships in my life. I truly see them as a blessing and a gift from God! I pray my friends would forgive me when I haven't fulfilled my end of the "contract," and I'm looking ahead for absolutely unity that we've never known in the age to come!