For the third installment of the Friends & Christianity series, we are going to look at what biblical insights there are to gather from The One with the Thumb…
1. Friends are supportive as we strive to get better, even if we still stink.
Rachel has dove into the real world head first. She’s not good at this whole survive-on-her-own thing, but she’s trying. So, when she celebrates that she got all her friends’ drink orders correct, they do not tell her that she messed up on who they go to. Instead they celebrate her step of victory and simply switch cups. Hey, at least she is trying and she got the actual drinks correct. That is a step in the right direction.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
2. Friends support friends when they do the right thing, even if they don’t get it at first.
Phoebe gets a mistake deposit of $500 into her bank account. Her friends can’t understand why she is upset, but then Phoebe explains that there is no way she can enjoy the money knowing it is not hers. She has to return it, and they support her and encourage her in her stand to do the right thing and return the funds.
It [Love] does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:6 NLT
3. Friends confront friends when they are engaging in destructive behavior.
In this episode, Chandler gets lured back into smoking—an addiction he had overcome in his past. His friends know this behavior is not at the core of what Chandler wants and is also a behavior that is harming him. They don’t sit back and let him have at it so that he won’t get upset with them. They confront him over and over and over again until he stops. Friends don’t sit back and let their friend self-destruct; they step in even if it means their friend will be upset with them.
An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. ~ Proverbs 27:5-6 NLT
4. Friends don’t reveal offenses by hide them.
Chandler’s addiction leads him into anti-friendship behavior. To take the heat off of himself and his struggles, he points out flaws in all of his friends. This leads to bickering among them. Up until this point, he’s been a friend and hidden these minor offenses, because friends do that for each other.
Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. ~ Proverbs 17:19 ESV
5. Friends change each other’s nicotine patches.
When our friends are irritable, we don’t get upset with them. We recognized, or seek out, the cause and help our friend in need. Chandler is on edge after quitting smoking again. Ross doesn’t get upset with him. Ross recognizes the source of his friend’s irritation and addresses the source, not Chandler, by changing the nicotine patch. I had a friend in high school who knew I got irritable when hungry, so she packed extra snacks for our bus ride to Universal Studios for our senior trip. She didn’t lecture me or get mad at me when I got irritable, she handed me a candy bar.
A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. ~ Proverbs 17:17 NLT
Bonus: Phoebe is weird, and we should be to.
Phoebe tells the bank they made an error by depositing an extra $500 into her account. They send her an apology note, deposit another $500 into her account, and send her a football phone. Phoebe then proceeds to give the full $1000 that is not hers and the football phone to a homeless lady she’s in the habit of making alphabet soup for—which involves picking out all the vowels. That’s not only generosity in giving financially but in serving. How many loved ones would we go to such lengths for let alone a stranger?
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” ~ Acts 20:35 ESV
The homeless woman begs to be able to do something for Phoebe. Phoebe eventually relents and allows the woman to buy her a soda. Inside the can is a thumb. After giving all that money, the phone, and a bowl of carefully made soup away, the soda company gives Phoebe $7,000 dollars—seven times as much as she gave away.
…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” ~ Luke 6:38 ESV
Set aside the biblical significance of the number seven, Phoebe has just witnessed the biblical principle of giving.