In the first post of the Friends & Christianity series, we discussed The Pilot. Now we move on to The One with the Sonogram at the End, a funny, yet insightful episode. Here is what we can learn in light of the Christian faith:
1. Friends let friends destroy their lasagna to find a wedding ring.
Monica is a nervous wreck preparing for her parents’ dinner visit. The Gellers are loving but highly judgmental of their daughter. Nothing seems to please them, yet Monica works tirelessly to prepare a meal to suit their taste and to make sure the house is spotless. Then Rachel discovers she is missing her engagement ring—which she is to return to her ex-fiancé the next day. So, despite knowing she will face her parents’ scorn, Monica allows her lasagna to be ripped apart to help her friend.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT
2. Friends dig through lasagna for their friends.
I can’t stand the feeling of food on my fingers, but real friends roll up their sleeves and ignore that which makes them uncomfortable in order to help a friend in need.
For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. ~ Ruth 1:16 ESV
3. Friends throw themselves under the bus if it means keeping their friend from being rolled over.
Ross gets up and tells the Gellers about his failed marriage being due to his wife choosing to be with another woman, and he tells them of the child he is to have and raise with his ex-wife and her girlfriend. This news momentarily takes the attention off of Monica (very momentarily) at his own expense. Ross is not just Monica’s brother, he is her friend. When friends are under attack, we step in and take the blows upon ourselves. Friends do not throw friends under the bus, as the saying goes, friends thrust themselves under the bus to spare their friends.
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. ~ John 15:13 NLT
3. Friends sweep for friends.
Ross is the last one left at the coffee shop with Rachel who is sweeping. He offers to help and takes on sweeping though it is not his job. Friends don’t say, “That’s their responsibility, not mine.” Friends share in the responsibility, seeking to serve each other even in little ways.
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. ~ Romans 12:10 NLT
4. Friends shoulder burdens with friends.
In the same scene, Ross offers to return Rachel’s ring to Barry so she won’t have to. She doesn’t take him up on the offer which, though jokingly made, would likely have been fulfilled had she accepted. Ross does not let Rachel shoulder the burden she brought on herself by herself. He is there to help lift the weight with her—even if just by giving her a reason to laugh and relax.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30 NLT
5. Friends watch their friend’s sonogram videos even if they can’t tell what they are seeing.
The older we get, the more friends are going to have sonogram videos or photos they excitedly want to share with us. Most of the time we are not going to be able to tell where the baby is—except later in the pregnancy. But even if we don’t see what our friends see, we can still stand by them and share in their excitement over their child. And, I think this goes further. Sometimes our friends are going to see things differently than us. They are going to become passionate in a fandom that we don’t fully understand. They are going to join the Christian-fandom by placing their faith in Christ, something we may not get but we can still love them and celebrate with them. The point: we may not always see what our friends see, but we can stand by their side as they rejoice in what they’ve found.
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT
Bonus: When did life get so complicated?
Rachel asks this of Ross when they are in the coffee shop discussing having to face their exes the following day. She flows by saying, “Remember when we were in high school together?…I mean, didn’t you think you were just gonna meet someone, fall in love- and that’d be it?”
Life seemed incredibly simple and idealistic in high school. Then, if you were like me, we were thrust into the real world only to see that nothing was what we thought it would be in twelfth grade—especially not romantic love.
TV and movies tell us how we should go about dating, only it never works out as cleanly as is portrayed on the screen. We date, we break-up, we date, we break-up. Then, hopefully, we wake up from the cycle and ask the same question as Rachel, “When did life get so complicated?”
The answer I have found: When I made it complicated.
You see, what I’ve discovered is that life is simple. Not easy, far from easy, but very simple. It is all about us and God. That is our most important relationship. Once we step-back and get that right, then when we add in other relationships (romantic, friendships, family-ships, etc.) we have better direction and guidance on how to make those relationships work. And, when drama comes, we also know how to maintain our inner peace because we go back to that core relationship—us and God.
I don’t know if you are a Christian or not, but the one piece of advice I wish someone would have told me much sooner (and maybe they did and I just didn’t listen) is that at the end of the day, all that matters is me and Him. Everything else can be in shambles, but if I can stop and remember I am not alone. He is with me. Loves me. And will be with me through it all. When I stop and just talk to Him, remember that our relationship is all that really matters, well, then I can face anything.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:9 ESV