Podcast: Heart And Soul: Friendships – The Ones You Keep & The Ones You Don’t


One of the most challenging relationships to navigate through is friendship. Some are long- term, most are short-lived, but none have a binding contract. So what “code of conduct” do friendships follow? When is it right to part ways and how do you even “break up” with a friend?

TRANSCRIPT
Heart And Soul: Friendships – The Ones You Keep & The Ones You Don’t

LP:
They’re your go-to, the person you run to when you hear great news or even when you have a silly story or even when you just need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen without reservation.

MZ:
And no, we are not talking about your significant other. Think before them. Who did you have before them?

LP:
That’s right, we’re referring to your friends.

MZ:
And that’s the title of our episode today is Friendship and the love of the friendships that we have. So pull up a chair with a friend, a good friend hopefully, grab a cup of coffee. We’re people talkin’ love, talkin’ love and relationships and friendships on INC Heart & Soul.

[Heart & Soul intro music]

LP:
Welcome to INC Heart & Soul. I’m Lois Paula Riturban.

MZ:
And I’m Martin Zerrudo. We’ve been talking a lot on Heart & Soul about courtship, finding the one, the love and the little things in marriage, and a lot of the feedback that we’ve been receiving is super super super positive. We’re so very thankful. Everybody asks, “Can you guys talk about long-distance relationships? Can you guys talk about how to impress a girl? How to put a really good outfit together and make her think, ‘Wow you look amazing!’? ” All these really great conversations and topics in between Finding the One, and Being the One, and Looking for the One…But today, we’re not talking about that. We are not talking about that today. Today we are talking about friendships. And it’s about how we develop those friendships with our boys, with our girls, the ones who have our back no matter what happens.

LP
…which can definitely be the base and the foundation of our potential relationships in the future. We know we have friendships of all different kinds. Sometimes they’re long-lasting. Sometimes we just met them. But today, we’ll focus on friendships that challenge us, friendships that might have changed us, and definitely when we need it the most, friendships that uplift us.

MZ:
Yeah, and it’s crazy. You look back in your life and you think, “There’s been so many people who have helped or contributed to making us who we are because of these friendships.” And it’s because of all these crazy things that have happened and you have this crazy story about this one time that we did this thing a couple years….it’s like, “You remember that time in 2011…” Right? Or there’s that embarrassing thing that happened like, “Oh my God, remember last Thursday…” That’s the kind of stories that we’re hoping will enter our discussion today. Real, actual situations and moments that really helped develop an amazing lasting friendship. So let’s get started with our first panelist. He’s a great friend of mine who, contrary to many of our other friends who we may have known for our whole life or for like tens and tens of years, I’ve actually only known him for only a couple of years but the journey in my life and the journey in his life ended up converging accordance to God’s plan and we ended up becoming really great friends. And I do consider him a blessing and a good friend in my life so joining with us today is my very good friend, Lenner.

Lenner:
Hi, I’m very happy to be here.

LP:
Lenner, can you tell us: How did you meet Martin?

Lenner:
You’re gonna probably have to fill in some of the gaps because I’ve been actively repressing some of these memories so…

[Martin laughs]

…feel free to jump in Bro. Martin.

[3:14]
MZ:
So he was in a relationship and then that didn’t work out and then he was studying and then I had found out that his ex was now single and so I wanted to get to know her. And in my head, having not really been friends with Lenner, I was just thinking like, “Hey, just be a nice guy, and you know, bro-code. You know, be a bro in the faith, and just kind of let him know, ‘Hey, just want to let you know I’m going to get to know your ex, hope that’s ok.’”

And…I don’t know…I think I was just really excited to try and get to know this person and I didn’t really factor in a lot of the other things that maybe Lenner could have been going through or the way that it could’ve been perceived, so that’s was the message I sent; Hey, hope everything is alright. I don’t know what you’re going through in life but I just wanted to let you know I was going to go for your ex-girlfriend. See ya later.

Lenner:
Right, right. So, my first thought was, “Who is this guy?” and my second thought was, “The nerve of this guy to message me out of nowhere.”

From my reply, I just kinda (agreed with him?) like, “Who do you think you are Martin? This isn’t cool at all!”

LP:
Lenner, looking back now, you reacted- obviously we’re human. And relationships are very close to our heart and you have this person, this brother coming up to you… Looking back at it now, do you feel as if you reacted in the right way or there’s something that you could’ve done differently or you feel like it panned out just the way God wanted it to?

Lenner:
I think the latter. Just looking back, I just realized how far we’ve come in (real life?). So it’s just pretty much a part. We’ve started rough, and we’ve kinda gotten over that point and we’ve become good friends that we are today so…

LP:
Yeah, so fast forward– obviously you had your differences. That relationship came and gone. How did you come to be the great friends, the great brothers that you guys are now?

Lenner:
So we were at Wendy’s and I remember just talking to old friends that I haven’t seen in awhile and Martin and a couple other, like 4 other brothers, they just asked me, “Hey do you want to come over to the car?” And I was just kind of perplexed. I was like, “Are you guys doing a coffee run or what’s happening?”

So when we went to the car, we just started talking about each other’s problems, what they’re going through, and here I am, a stranger to most of these guys, especially Bro. Martin. They’re pouring their hearts out, they’re letting me know what’s going on in their lives and at the end, we had a devotional prayer in the car and that just really got to me like, “There’s 5 guys in the car just praying for each other like Bro. Martin praying for me.” That’s something that was pretty new to me so I wasn’t sure of Martin’s intentions before but it just felt good to just pray for me, is something that I still remember to this day and that’s what founded my trust, the start of my trust for him too, you know?

LP:
Very cool. Martin, was that something that you and your guy friends did regularly?

MZ:
Just through circumstance of always performing for these activities, me and these 3 other guys became very close and we started having this thing called Devo where we would go into the car or somewhere, if we were at home already, we would literally conference-call and then we would just say, “OK what’s our blessing?” Everybody says what their blessing was for that day. No matter how big or small. And I don’t even know how that started but it just kind of—we just started praying. We just started talking about our faith and what were the challenges of the day and what our individual blessing was.

And that one night at Wendy’s, I was like, “You know, I’ve tried everything. Let’s just…I just wanted him to see our capacity to show love for each other as brothers, you know?” If I can’t, if in everything that I’ve tried so far, it wasn’t working then at least this is—which I guess should’ve been my first resort but I guess this is my last resort. I’m just going to lay it all out like, “These are my friends and I want you to know them and I want you to know their struggles and I want you to know that we care for each other and I want you to know that you could have this too. We’re offering this to you. We want you to be a part of this.” And that’s how it started. Every single night for a good year and a half, including Lenner, was 5 guys every night on the phone or in a car talking about the blessing of the day and then praying for each other at the end.

[8:11]
LP:
Our next panelist, we’ve actually known each other almost our whole life. I met her within the first decade of my life. We’ve been sisters, close friends again for more than 20 years. We’ve definitely witnessed some of our darkest and of course brightest moments in life, Krystal Joy Quarles, welcome!

Krystal:
Hello!

LP:
Krystal is no longer here, we no longer live in the same city.

MZ:
Was it hard for you to move away from your friends or the base of friendships that was in Southern California?

Krystal:
There was a series of events that happened in my life where I kind of just needed something. I didn’t know what it was exactly but just one day, one day last December I received a phone call and I was asked to move up here to work for the USMO and I literally packed my bags and just left. I took that as an answer to everything I was praying for so…

LP:
Because you represent a lot of people who – especially young folks who are really just trying to make something of themselves and really trying to find who they are in this world. We’re still friends and we still see each other through all these different activities, we get to reconnect. So do you feel like moving away has been beneficial to you and your relationships? Has it strengthened your friendships with others? How do feel like it’s affected you?

Krystal:
It’s kind of like, breathing space.

MZ:
When you were leaving, did you think that you would miss all of your friends?

Krystal:
Yes and no.

MZ:
Oh wow, both. Why didn’t you think you were gonna miss them?

Krystal:
Because I knew that they were always gonna be there. I knew that my friends would always be there, no matter what. Whether it be telephone call, a text, my family is in San Diego, in National City so there are going to be times when I would just go home, which I have, and—

MZ:
— you get to see your friends.

Krystal:
Exactly! So…

MZ:
But were there some friends that you just wanted to get away from?

Krystal:
Umm, not necessarily.

MZ:
No? That’s a good sign.

Krystal:
No, no. But I knew that there was—that I needed to breathe. I knew that for a fact.

MZ:
Do you ever feel like your friends, sometimes they don’t understand where you’re at in life and that CAN feel a little suffocating cuz their always asking you, “What’s going on? Are you ok? Everything ok?”

Krystal:
It’s more like you don’t know how to explain yourself. For me, I didn’t know how to explain myself. I was kinda like, friends would ask me, “What’s wrong?” or “What happened?” stuff like that. And I’d just be like, “Uhh….” Kind stumped! Because, here I was trying to understand what it was I was going through. I had no idea how to open myself up to them and so that’s pretty much why I needed the breathing space so that I could really gather myself and understand my own whatever-it-was I was going through. I needed to understand it for myself so that when the time was right, when I felt comfortable, when I felt sure, then that’s the time I would be more than happy to let them know what was going on, or what happened, or how I was feeling.

MZ:
And I guess on the other side of that LP, you’ve been friends with Krystal for a long time, were you one of those friends who were just like, “ I dunno what’s going on with Krystal. Is she ok? She’s just moving away, what’s going on?” Be honest!

LP:
No, absolutely! And Krystal, we’ve learned over the years, at least with my relationship with her, we’ve definitely had our time to learn each other, to learn ourselves….man, Krystal and I had our times.
[they both laugh]

…but definitely when she was going through this period of her life, similarly I was going through my things but it was a complete acknowledgment of, “It’s ok! I’m your friend and your sister and I will be there 100% but I don’t need to know exactly how you’re feeling or why you’re feeling like that.” Why? Because I fully trusted that she was praying and that God was going to be there for her no matter what.

This is a perfect opportunity to bring in some guidance from the minister of the gospel who we’re very grateful to have joining us today. We have Bro. Jojo Bayani, minister of the gospel. Hello po.

Ka Jojo:
Hello everyone, how are you?

LP:
Bro. Jojo, thank you so much for joining us again. And we definitely would love to ask if the Bible has anything to say about friendships in general and how are we—what are the rules? Are we supposed to have rules for friendships? Are there to-dos and not to-dos? Is there a story in the Bible of 2 friends that we can use as an example?

[13:28]
Ka.Jojo:
Absolutely! The Bible does give us guidance, a lot of guidance with regard to friends and choosing the kind of companions that we should have in life. If we read from I Cor. 15:33 of the Expanded Bible, this is what we can read, it says:

33 Do not be fooled [deceived; misled]: “Bad friends [company] will ruin good habits [or character; morals].”

And so there is a guideline with regard to choosing the people that we will have as friends in life. The Bible says that one can actually deceive himself if one chooses a friend or a companion incorrectly. An example of good friends? There are! In I Sam 18:1,3 from the God’s Word version, it says the following:

18 David finished talking to Saul. After that, Jonathan became David’s closest friend. He loved David as much as he loved himself. 3 So Jonathan made a pledge of mutual loyalty with David because he loved him as much as he loved himself.

For those who are not familiar with the story, Saul was the first king that God chose in order to take care of this people, the people of Israel. The Bible mentions Jonathan. Jonathan was one of the sons of King Saul and the Bible also mentions a man named David. According to Biblical history, it was actually David who became the successor of Saul as king over all Israel. There was a time that David became an excellent warrior and King Saul became very envious, very jealous of David and he actually made 3 attempts to kill David because he was so jealous of David’s success and popularity. But Saul’s own son, Jonathan became, as we just mentioned from the Bible, his closest friend.

And because of that friendship, Jonathan pledged mutual loyalty with David. And so they were, if we can use the term “life-long”, they became life-long friends.

I think that’s what you want to have as your friend. Someone who will pledge loyalty. If we look up the word ‘loyalty’, it’s defined as:

Constant support for someone or from someone.

And that’s exactly the kind of friendship that they had. We knew that because Saul displeased our Lord God, even when he was alive, he was already slowly but surely being rejected by God and he kind of felt that God was leaving him and he became even more jealous of David and made several attempts to take David’s life. But because of this loyalty and friendship that David had with Jonathan, Saul’s son, there was even an instance in the Bible where God actually used Jonathan in order to save David’s life. And so, you talk about friends who have your back, that was the friendship that Jonathan had with David. It’s one of the best stories of the Bible regarding true friendship.

MZ:
Now Ka Jojo, I know we may not have them here today as guests, and thank you so much for those amazing verses that really ground us in our discussion of friendships, but for your personal life Bro Jojo, do you have an example who maybe tried to mislead you? Maybe bad people who tried to incorporate themselves in your lives and do you also have somebody who is like a Jonathan who is always loyal to you as a friend in your lifetime?

[17:54]
Bro Jojo:
Absolutely Bro Martin, because I was also young once, like you four. After graduating from high school at the age of 18, I went to college at a place called UC Davis. I had a good friend who went to the same high school with me and he actually became my dorm mate. He became my roommate for the first year in college and I thought I knew who he was from high school because we played basketball together and we became friends through sports but when we actually started living together,

had it not been for our teachings that we’ve learned in the Church Of Christ as to what is it that we should do, what is it that we shouldn’t do, the things that are pleasing and displeasing to God, it would’ve been — I would of turned out really really not-so-strong in the faith.

Because all the temptations were there in front of me every single day throughout that first school year in college. And you know, that’s the type of friend where – I can’t blame him because he of course, he didn’t grow up in the Church Of Christ, he didn’t have a religious background and so everything he thought he was doing was ok. But that’s the first thing that comes to mind with regard to a friend that I thought was going to be a “true and loyal friend” but it turned out that he was actually – he could have been a strong influence in a negative way.

MZ:
Did he know that you were very religious and that you were from the Church of Christ?

Bro Jojo:
He did, he did because when we were together in high school, we went to parties together and he knew that I wouldn’t do…

MZ:
Did you feel po that maybe he was starting to resent you a little bit? That you couldn’t live the life that he wanted you to live with him?

Bro Jojo:

You know, after our first year at UC Davis, we actually parted and…

MZ:
You had a falling out?

Bro Jojo:
Yeah.

MZ:
And for the one who’s been there the whole time, the one who’s been a Jonathan, we all want a Jonathan in our lives, a whole lifetime friend?

[20:32]
Bro Jojo:
I have a wonderful buddy in the ministry, I don’t know if he would like me to name him, I’m sure he would have no problem. I’ll tell him to check out this podcast after I mention him. His name is Bro. Rod Bruno.

MZ:
No way!

Bro Jojo:
Yes yes, I believe he’s your district minister there in Canada. Yeah, he’s a wonderful friend. We started in the ministry at the same time, back in 1985, we became first year students in the Philippines in 1985 and we didn’t know each other well. I came from Vallejo, and he came from Sacramento so prior to heading to the Philippines to study in the ministry, we met each other about a year before going to the Philippines and we got acquainted that way. He was an officer in Sacramento, I was an officer in Vallejo. We actually didn’t like each other very much at the start.

MZ:
How come?

Bro Jojo:
Our personalities clashed at the beginning, but later on, second year, we actually lived together for one year at the dorms. And in the ministry, when you get to – well, during our time, once you get to 3rd year, then you’re assigned to different local congregations then you live apart from each other. But we went to school for 5 years together in the Philippines for the whole of 5 years, same section so we saw each other just about everyday and that’s where the friendship developed. I guess we had the US in common so whenever we missed home and family and friends, we had that in common. And the friendship just developed until the time we were almost finished with our studies and we were starting our 5th year in the ministry together and he actually asked me to be his best man at his wedding there in the Philippines and the friendship grew more and when we finished our studies in the ministry after 5 years, we were assigned here in the US. I was actually assigned back in 1990 in Oceanside California, I think we call it Vista now, Sis. LP. And Bro. Rod Bruno was assigned somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, Everett, WA was his first assignment. So we had not seen each other since parting from school but we always kept in touch throughout the years and he’s my go-to guy when it comes to –as ministers, we kind of bounce off ideas and problems to each other. Whenever, especially during the early years of our ministry, whenever there was something that I needed to know about our doctrines specifically, I would say, “Bro! Bro!” I’d give him a call you know, “Bro! How would you go about answering this question?” And he is one of those people that you can rely on when it comes to doctrines and teachings in our Church. And that became something that I also was privileged to get to know about him, the solid knowledge that he had about our teachings. And you know, it’s been – we started in the ministry in 1985 so we’re counting 31 years of friendship now.

MZ:
Wow! But when he calls you, Bro Jojo, what does he ask you?

Bro Jojo:
Uhh…the goofy things that we talk about. Just things that friends talk about, just buddies… and knowing each other for 31 years, it’s like, “Oh remember that? Oh remember that?” And we just crack up and remember what happened 30 years ago, 25 years ago. It’s just a wonderful friendship that’s developed throughout the decades, you know?

MZ:
You know, sometimes our friends don’t always go straight to us or when they do, it’s because they’re hesitant. They don’t always do because they’re hesitant to have a confrontation or difference of opinion because we care about each other. And that also translates to the goals that we have, the dreams that we have. Sometimes we have those friends who we’ve known all our lives and they just don’t support our dreams or the direction that we’re headed. So my question to you po, Bro Jojo is when you decided or when you knew that you wanted to go into the ministry, were there those friends who didn’t support that decision?

[25:46]
Bro Jojo:
There were. Simply because perhaps, they didn’t understand and looking back, one can’t really expect even a true or close friend to understand what it is that you’re doing because when someone enters the ministry, it means going away from all of your friends and who knows when we’re going to see each other again? Because as you know with us ministers, we are transferred from place to place, sometimes from city to city, sometimes from country to country and perhaps those who were not as supportive as others simply thought of the same thing that I was thinking was, “Wow, is this the end of our friendship?”
You have to remember Bro Martin, that in the mid 80’s, we didn’t have the internet yet, we didn’t have social media, there was really no way to contact each other unless you’d be diligent enough to write letters. Because long distance phone calls back then, oh my goodness, cost a fortune! That’s probably what some were thinking.

MZ:
And do guys write each other? Do we write letters to each other? I don’t know.

Bro Jojo:
Nooooo….no.

MZ:
So Bro Jojo, if not for an extreme situation, I mean I don’t want to say like joining the ministry is extreme, but definitely for a situation that maybe isn’t as special or sacred as that, for those of us when we encounter friends who don’t always support our goals, like, “Oh I want to go into this profession or I decided to change my area of study”, what advice would you have for some of us who, we have our friends, we want to hold on to them, but they just can’t seem to support our life decisions. What do we do?

[27:45]
Bro Jojo:
I think the verse in the Bible that’ll help us with that, Bro Martin is Prov. 20:6 of the Living Bible version. It goes like this:
Most people will tell you what loyal friends they are. But, are they telling the truth?

So I think one of the best and most accurate measurements or gauges when it comes to having true friendship is they’re going to tell you the truth.

Of course, it’s going to be based on their feelings and experiences but a true friend will let you have it basically. You know how when we’re not as familiar with other people as we are with others, we’re kind of guarded as to say, “Oh!” When they ask you a question, “Does this look nice on me?” Maybe someone who’s not well acquainted enough will say, “Yeah, that’s great.” But if you have a true friend, he or she will probably say, “That really looks ugly on you. Wear something else. ” That’s what I call a true friendship. So a true friend will tell you exactly what it is that you need to know and they’ll be super super honest with you because they’re your friends! They won’t be afraid to hurt your feelings especially…I’ll give you an example Bro. Martin and for everyone else. Someone who may not be a true friend when you ask them, “Ok. This thing that I’m planning, even if it goes against God’s will. Should I go for it?” An untrue friend, a not-so-true friend might say, “Well…that’s up to you. I think if you think it’s good, it’s gonna be good for you. If it’s gonna be good for your future, then go for it.” But a true friend will say, “You know what? You should know better. Because we grew up together, we’ve been friends for a long time, we have the same faith, we live by the same values and teachings of God, so why are you even asking me if this is ok when you already know that that goes against God’s will?” That’s a true friend in my opinion.

The gauge of true friendship is one who will tell you the truth whether you want to hear it or not.

LP:
But what is your advice po for those who really are looking to God and really don’t want to have so much interaction with other people but really just want to focus on their faith, focus on their relationship with God and have faith and trust that they’ll be brought to the right people in the future?

[30:37]
Bro Jojo:
That’s an absolutely wonderful question, Sis LP. The Bible tells us this: From the book of James 2:23 from the Amplified version of the Bible.

23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and this [faith] was credited to him [by God] as righteousness and as conformity to His will,” and he was called the friend of God.

We have this wonderful example of a man who truly had the best friend that he could ever hope for in this world. He was a man named Abraham. Because of his faith and his obedience, God told him, “Leave your place. Leave everyone behind. I’m going to tell you to go to another place.” At first, he didn’t even know where God wanted him to go. But he obeyed. He had faith that God knew what will be best for him. Later on, there was an absolutely severe extreme test when God once again tested Abraham and said, “Why don’t you offer your son, your only son Isaac to Me as a burnt offering.” And without hesitation, Abraham was going to do it but at the last moment, a messenger was sent by God in the form of an angel and the angel told Abraham, “Don’t lay a finger on your son because God has seen your obedience.”

And so, in a nutshell, he became known as the father of faith eventually and he also became known as the friend of God. I mean…if God is and will remain our friend, we got it made for the rest of our lives

because if we have human friends, and that’s necessary. Whether your best friend be your spouse, and in my opinion, one of your best friends have to be your spouse if you’re married, you have to have that kind of relationship as husband and wife. But if you’re still single, a KADIWA or Binhi, if you have a true friend, we have to always remember, he or she may be our best friend but our friend is also limited to what they can do for us because they might be going through their own trials and ordeals in life. We can’t really expect too much from a friend, even if that friend is a true friend as we’ve used that term throughout this podcast.

But if God is your friend, I think I’ve mentioned it more than a couple of worship services.

You know, if you had a choice brethren, if I give you a choice, what if I give you 100 friends that you can really count on that will always be there for you in times of sadness, in times of joy. And if you had to choose between those 100 friends or God, who would you chose?

If you had 1,000 friends, if you had a million friends, if you had to choose between that and God, of course we would choose God. If God is your best friend, you could go to Him at any time of the day, of the evening, you could be lying there on your bed at 3 o’clock in the morning feeling desperate and almost to the brink of hopelessness and all you have to do is get up and kneel and close your eyes and start talking to your best friend who promises that whatever you ask for, He will grant.

Who promises that, “Don’t be hopeless. How could you be hopeless? I’m here for you. And He also has His Son who made the promise that whatever we ask for in His name, the Father will grant all of these things to us. And I know that that’s been our experiences throughout our lives, we who have been born and raised inside the Church Of Christ, that since the early days when we started attending the Children’s Worship Service or CWS, when we started to learn that, “If I can have this kind of relationship with God, if He can be my best friend, then my goodness. It doesn’t matter what happens to me. I’m going to be alright for the rest of my life.” And then, after that, He has that promise that if you continue to be diligent in serving Him and being faithful to Him, well of course there is everlasting life awaiting us.

So if you don’t have any really close or good or even true friends in this life, you always have God. Let Him be your best friend. Because He’s going to take care of you now and forever.

MZ:
Thank you so much Bro Jojo for that guidance and how we should view and value friendship especially in the #1 friendship in our life, which you have told us today is truly God.

LP:
And ultimately, we’ve learned today, we’ve discussed how the fundamentals of a good friendship really is a foundation we need to understand and even to know how to be in a strong relationship with anyone, and like you mentioned Bro Jojo, above all, with God. He knows best, He knows when and who to bring into our lives and how much we can really impact one another. Thank you to our guests for joining us today, Krystal and Lenner. We appreciate you being here and sharing your stories with us today.

Lenner:
Yeah, anytime.

Krystal:
Thanks for having me.

MZ:
Thank you so much for having us. We hope this prompts – we really really do hope that after listening to this or maybe even listening to this whole thing with your friend that it prompts more heart to heart conversations amongst one another, showing how much you value one another, how much your willing to be truthful to one another, how much you’re willing to say, “That doesn’t work that outfit!” or “You’re going in a way in your life that probably isn’t what God wants you to do.” Hopefully you have those kinds of discussions cuz that’s the kind of discussions that we wanna have in the Church of Christ as friends and as the kind of friendship that we wanna have with God. So I’m Martin Zerrudo.

LP:
And I’m Lois Paula Riturban.

MZ:
And we’re people talkin’ love, talkin’ love and relationships and friendships on INC Heart & Soul.

LP:
See you guys next time, thanks.

[Heart & Soul theme music]