For the fifth installment in the Friends & Christianity series, we are going to look at The One with the East German Laundry Detergent and see how it relates back to Christianity.
In this episode, Rachel is upset because her father is trying to bribe her to return home by offering her a new Mercedes. When she refuses, he tells her she’ll never make it on her own. This statement of disbelief by her father really gets to Rachel because her biggest fear is that he’ll be right.
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. ~ Colossians 3:21 ESV
Flash forward to later that night, Ross and Rachel have a laundry date (at least in his head)…
Rachel admits that she has never done laundry before, but she also declares that,
“If I can do my own laundry, there isn’t anything I can’t do.”
Ross helps her by teaching her the art of separating whites from colors and delicates from the rest. He also teaches her some of the rules of the laundry mat, stands up for her against the laundry-bully, and encourages her as she goes. And then… all of Rachel’s whites are turned pink because she made the honest mistake of leaving a read sock in with them.
Discouraged, Rachel admits that her father might be right, that she might not be able to make it on her own; but Ross steps up and continues to encourage her—in the face of the snickering bully.
You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another. ~ Proverbs 27:17 MSG
Later, they are folding laundry and Rachel spot the bully trying to take their cart. Encouraged on by Ross, she faces the bully down, eventually jumping in the cart and declaring that if the bully wants to take the cart, she’ll have to take Rachel with it. This stand breaks the bully, who walks away. Rachel has conquered not only the harsh jungle of the laundry mat but the doubts of her father…
When Rachel tells Ross she couldn’t have faced and conquered the laundry-giant in her life without him, it reminded me of one verse…
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. ~ Philippians 4:13 NLT
Christ declares in John 15 that all of us who follow him, doing what he commanded (loving as God loves, as he loved), are his friends. Friendships are very important; there are many verses in the Bible about how essential friendship is to a successful life and how to choose good friends and be good friends. But, the first and most important friendship we can have is with Christ.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Ginny explains her lure to Riddle’s diary. She said it was like having a friend she could carry around with her wherever she went. That is what Christ is. He is the friend we can carry around in our heart and mind at all times. We can talk to him, pray to him in our mind throughout the day. We can reflect on his words and teachings. Thessalonians says to pray without ceasing. Does this mean we walk around with our eyes closed and hands clasped all day? No, it just means we keep an open dialogue with God going in our minds as we go about our day.
All this to say, if you are facing a giant, get a friend to help you conquer that thing. First of all, get Christ, who is the ultimate friend. Then seek out other good friends to stand by you. This world and life are too hard to do alone, we need each other and we need Him.
So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” ~ Hebrews 13:6 ESV