My friend Rob Frazier preached Sunday morning about Biblical covenants. Among other things he spent some time talking about intentional friendships. These are not arbitrary friendships, like choosing a name out of a hat, but they are existing friendship where friends purpose to grow their friendship intentionally. They make covenant or commitment, sometimes formally stated, sometimes unspoken. Even when unstated, nevertheless they are agreed upon.
I see my friend Harry about once a year. We get together on purpose and spend a little time when he is in town. This last time he told me when we parted, "I love you—deeply." I like being loved, and especially by someone I think so highly of.
My friends Annie and Tom are dear to me. They are young enough to be my kids but I don't try to be a father to them exactly. They both have fathers. But I do mix play and acceptance. I tell Annie, 'if I had a daughter I would want her to be just like you.' She protests, 'yeah but without my faults.' I say no, 'I wouldn't change a thing.' After church Sunday, as they were gathering up the kids after the sermon I mentioned above, I told them I love them intentionally. They said it's mutual. Then I said, too bad some people can't stand intentionality. They sense an intention directed at them and don't know what it is; they are afraid they'll be called on to do something they can't do or be something they can't be. Love never intends anything like that, but not everyone knows. They might not be so steady on their feet when it comes to love.
But when it comes right down to it everyone is intentional—always. They are intentional about loving or about not loving. If they weren't they would be dead. Since we have to intend something it might as well be love. After all, love is always possible.