For the thirteenth installment of the Friends & Christianity series, we’re going to look at The One With The Boobies. Now, as with most Friends episodes, there are three main plot lines. Usually I try to pick one or two, but today I want to look at all three, ending with the “boobies” plot-line. So here we go…

1. The Creepy Boyfriend

In this episode we meet Phoebe‘s new boyfriend, Rodge, the psychologist. He seems nice, a little strange, but nice enough. Then he opens up and begins to classify and psychoanalyze each of the friends, leaving them confused and depressed about their lives.

This got me to thinking about Psalm 139 (my favorite) and how God doesn’t label and classify each one of us as if we are “textbook” stereotypes of some mental disorder. Rather, David describes God as knitting us each together in a unique way. No one person is exactly the same as another, not even identical twins. We may look alike, but God has a unique story and plan for each of us.

Now, we may bear the label of child of God, Christ-follower, etc. but those are labels we gladly choose to add to our lives. I am proud to be a Christ-follower, a Potter fan, a Ravenpuff, etc. The problem lies when people try to label people (which is almost always done in judgement): smart, slow, beautiful, not-as-beautiful-as-so-and-so, good, bad, perfect, messed-up. And we face even bigger problems when we believe the labels put on us by people rather than those given to us by God: loved, unique, wonderful, etc. What I’ve experienced is that there are two places we can look to for our identity (the same two places we look for and give love): from people or from God. I choose to seek out God for my identity, for he speaks Truth and Life.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

Psalm 139:13-16 NLT

2. The Other Joey Tribbiani

Joey‘s dad, Joseph Tribbiani, comes to stay with him while he’s working in the city. Everything is good until Joey discoveres his dad talking all lovey-dovey on the phone to a woman who is not Joey’s mother. Joey Sr. admits to being in love with two women—his wife and his mistress—for six years. Joey, a family man at heart, finds this information hard to swallow. He worries that one day he will grow up and be unable to commit, just like his father. Chandler gives him some very biblical advice (that can also be found in Potter):

You’re not him. You’re you. ~ Chandler

We are who we choose to be. Not who our parents or siblings are.

But suppose that sinful son, in turn, has a son who sees his father’s wickedness and decides against that kind of life. This son refuses to worship idols on the mountains and does not commit adultery. He does not exploit the poor, but instead is fair to debtors and does not rob them. He gives food to the hungry and provides clothes for the needy. He helps the poor, does not lend money at interest, and obeys all my regulations and decrees. Such a person will not die because of his father’s sins; he will surely live. ~ Ezekiel 18:14-17 NLT

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3. The Boobies

The episode opens with Chandler walking into Monica and Rachel‘s apartment to grab something from the fridge; and Rachel, unawares of her visitor, walks out of bathroom after showering half-naked. And thus the war of the boobies begins. But we’re not going to get into that, rather we are going to look into what we are to do when we inevitably reach that point in a friendship where our friend does something embarrassing.

The Bible tells us to treat others as we would like to be treated. However, what if we don’t care that when we pass gas for the first time in front of a friend that they tell others, but that same friend would care? Or, what if we don’t care if our friend jokes to others about seeing us naked, but they would care (as is the case with Rachel)?

After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard. One day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers. Then Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover their father. As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked.

When Noah woke up from his stupor, he learned what Ham, his youngest son, had done. Then he cursed Canaan, the son of Ham: “May Canaan be cursed! May he be the lowest of servants to his relatives.” Then Noah said, “May the LORD, the God of Shem, be blessed, and may Canaan be his servant! May God expand the territory of Japheth! May Japheth share the prosperity of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant. ~ Genesis 9:20-27 NLT

Clearly Noah had a problem with Ham blabbing about his embarrassment rather than covering it up. Proverbs 17:9 says that covering up offenses fosters love but when we gossip about others we do harm to relationships.

Maybe if Chandler would have kept the incident to himself, he wouldn’t have been hunted down for is “tat.” Just saying. 😉

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