February 25, 2024

How to Love Your Graduating Friends

Photo by Faustin Tuyambaze, Creative Commons License.

By Wesley Tenney ’18

Graduation approaches!

We’re about to experience the commencement of another wonderful couple hundred students.

I can’t help but thank Jesus for the wonder and wisdom my friends are about to experience in the wider world.

Yet, amidst all this celebration, I’m sure some of you must feel disappointed at times, as I do, in anticipation of the separations to come with our friends’ commencement. Well, I want y’all to know missing friends is both normal and often healthy.

A healthy ‘missing’ calls those of us in community towards deep dynamic relationships, drawing from the Spirit immense faith, hope, and love. I know a changing friendship can be tough.

However, by viewing our friends with the eyes of Christ, the desires behind a healthy ‘missing’ can, and will, flourish. If you’re missing your senior friends, don’t fret. Here are four hopefully helpful strategies on how to miss well from a theological perspective:

[1] Viewing your senior friends through the eyes of Christ means making room for benevolence. It’s wonderful to reminisce, but our senior friends are progressing into the calling God has for them. If we ruminate on the past, we don’t let our friend’s volition prosper.

Instead, we should focus on the future with our friends, implicitly providing them with a sense of Christ-like freedom aligned towards God’s voice. If we share in our friends’ excitement, we share in God’s calling for their lives by affirming His call as the Church. So, let’s encourage our senior friends towards Christ’s calls and look forward together!

[2] Viewing your senior friends through the eyes of Christ also means looking at our relationships in light of eternity. Most Christians believe eternity will be full of worshiping Christ, alongside His Church body. We’re going to have our believing friends there with us in eternity to worship God, too.

I feel tons of assurance knowing that the believers I love here at Gordon are probably gonna be with Jesus and I in the years to come. Who knows, maybe our senior friends will even be splitting slices of cake with us as we celebrate their 10,324th birthdays? It’s gonna be awesome!

[3] Viewing your senior friends through the eyes of Christ means being incarnational. Christ is always here for us. In our friendships, we should aim to be just like Jesus and do the same for one another.

Because our friends may be distant, living differently scheduled lives, or experiencing tastes of society that may seem unrelatable to us as continuing undergraduate students, does not mean our ability to be there for our friends has become any more limited. Rather, it is how we’re there for them that changes.

What does this look like? Make your incarnational tactics personal. I’m super excited to be a pen-pal with one of my senior friends, and I can’t wait for monthly scheduled phone calls with another one. Grabbing coffee is always a great method of catching-up, too. Being there for your friend after they graduate can manifest in many ways; just make sure its special for both of you. Talk to your senior friends now to plan; it’s amazing the difference one conversation today can make for your friendships down the road.

[4] Above all else, viewing your friends through the eyes of Christ means giving your relationships to God. When you direct your faith and love towards Jesus, then His Spirit guides your faith and love towards others more effectively. Let Christ in. Experience the hope He provides for you and your best friends.

Blessings, Class of 2018!

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