Dec 13, 2016

True Friendships

Her phone buzzed.  She pressed the screen, watching as four words appeared.

"Hi.  How are you?"

With a sigh, she stared down at the sentence.  A million things popped into her mind.  I'm tired.  Ready to give up.  No one sees, and no one cares.  Instead, she put on her pretend attitude.  Her perfectness.  No one truly knew who she was because they didn't try to get to know her.  Even her waiting "friend" was just wanting to spill out her own thoughts out about herself.

"I'm fine."  It was what she expected after all.  She couldn't be vulnerable.  She couldn't let the "friend" see her weakness.  Her pain.  Her exhaustion.




I think most of us know the difference between a true friend and a "friend."  There are people in our lives who truly care about us.  Friends who want to hear our struggles, doubts, and fears.  Friends who won't make fun of us for being weak but will encourage us and point us to God.  But there are definitely others in our life who seem to walk alongside us without ever becoming that intimate friend.  People who give quick, thoughtless answers.  People who just don't care.  They are along for the ride - as long as it remains easy and fun.  If you go through a hard time, they might just fall off and disappear as they find another person to "hook up" with.

It's kind of like the modern view of marriage.  Many people think that if their partner becomes "boring" or "uninteresting", they can drop them and find another.  Divorces are skyrocketing because the world doesn't see a need for "till death do us part" relationships.  We find someone we like, and if they do their part, we'll do ours.  If not, we're gone!

Godly friendship is an important topic.  We have to interact with people.  That's just how life works.  Sure, there are some individuals who really don't have any friends, but most likely you and I have at least a few.  How can we relate to others in a God honoring way?  What is my job as a friend?  Is it better to have many friends or just a few intimate ones?

I am going to share my thoughts based off of some Bible verses I found on this topic.  This blog post is actually more for me than for you all.  I want to know what my relationship with others should look like.  And where should we look other than the manual for Christian living?

Are friendships important?

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 - "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.  For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up."

John 15:12 - "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

Friendships are important.  They are even Biblical!  What would we do if we fell without someone to help us up?  Taking this more into a modern sense, what do we do when we fail, feel miserable, and give up?  A friend is someone who will take our hand, pull us back to our feet, and walk alongside us with his hand on our shoulder.  Even Jesus had friends.  He chose 12 disciples to accompany Him wherever He went.  Was this only to encourage and teach them?  Possibly, but I think that Jesus enjoyed having the company.  People who could relate to Him.  People He could pour into.

Does it really matter who our friends are?

Proverbs 12:26 - "The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray."

Proverbs 22:24-25 - "Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul."

1 Corinthians 15:33 - "Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits.'" 

Having the wrong friends can be disastrous!  There are many different physiological studies that show how people react differently based off of who they hang around.  (and I did not enjoy my psychology class, so we won't go any further on that subject)  Peer pressure is so normal that we don't even realize it.

If we befriend godly friends who point us to Jesus, we will likewise grow stronger in our faith.  If we choose our companions to be unbelievers who accept sin as acceptable, our moral standards will likely drop, and we will find ourselves becoming more like them.  A Chinese proverb says, "Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends whom we choose."

This definitely does not mean that we shouldn't befriend unbelievers!  I am not meaning to imply that at all.  We should be reaching out to and loving the lost so that we can encourage them to turn to Jesus.  However, our best friends, the ones who we share our deepest secrets with, ask prayer from, and talk with the most, should be strong believers who share our passion for God.  If our friends are any less, we might be in danger of losing focus.

How can I be a good friend?

Proverbs 17:9 - "He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends."

1 Corinthians 10:24 - "Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being."

1 Peter 4:8 - "And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins."

There are so many different aspects of how to be a good friend, but those verses share a few important reminders.  First of all, we should not ignore sin (transgression).  If we see a brother or sister in Christ who is living in sin, we need to confront them of it in love.  Too often we think "maybe they will be upset at me" or "maybe God didn't convict them of it yet...He might bring someone else to do the job."  This is a really touchy subject, and I don't have time to get into all of it.  But one vital aspect of being a friend is being willing to lovingly bring up tough issues and talk through them.  (of course, don't jump on every single fault and failure they might have...this has to be done with the right intentions and with the right heart.)

Secondly, if the person does make a mistake, don't keep bringing it up.  Don't tease people about some imperfection they have.  Realize that everyone is human.  I make mistakes, and you make mistakes.  Be kind, and don't repeat the matter.

Another aspect of being a good friend is seeking each other's well-being.  Consider others as more important than yourself.  Be willing to give time, prayer, and love to others.  Selfish friends aren't friends at all.  Thus, we need to realize that if we want to be a good friend, we need to take the time to invest in others.

Lastly, one of the most important aspects of being a friend is to have LOVE for one another.  The definition of true love can be found in 1 Corinthians 13.  I encourage you to at least read the list from verses 4-7.  If you are a loving friend, you will be patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, etc.


These are just a few of the many important aspects of friendship.  I'm sure I could write many more blog posts about this topic, but I hope this general overview proves to be helpful.  We need to diligently examine our lives and see if the people we hang out with are the people we would want to be like.

I want my friendships to be like Jonathan and David's from 1 Samuel. 

1 Samuel 18:1-3  "...the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him (David) that day, and would not let him go home to his father’s house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul."

From such a simple beginning, two young men became fast friends.  Though Jonathan's father plotted David's death, they remained true friends to the end.  Jonathan saved his friend's life more than once.  At one point, Jonathan's father was seeking David to kill him.  Jonathan found David in the forest.  This last time they saw each other on earth (at least the last time that was recorded in the Bible), Jonathan "strengthened his hand in God."  During their darkest moments, they encouraged, prayed for, and loved one another.  THAT is true friendship.

I'll close with one last verse, but this time from the Message Bible.  =)  

Proverbs 18:24 (The Message) - "Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family."

I encourage every believer to study their relationships with others.  Are they God glorifying?  Are they lifting you up in encouragement or tearing you down in sin?

Do you have a true friend like Jonathan was to David?  What are your thoughts on friendships?  Comment below! 

25 comments:

  1. Wonderful post, Hosanna! You brought up many good points about friendship. Confronting one another in love, loving each other, being more interested in them than yourself, etc. I think one thing I might add to that list is for me personally I try and be careful confronting them if I know they may not receive it well. Maybe that's not a good thing, but I have friends (not close ones) that I know would probably try to justify themselves if I brought sin up. So I think for my friendship's health I've learned that it's much more healthy for our friendship if I don't bring sin up because it would be a mute point and they would just try to justify what they do. Do you have any thoughts on that?

    I love those verses you mentioned! What a important topic to think and talk about! Thank you, dear for posting on this!

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    1. Hmm...those are some great points, Hannah. But they are hard to answer. ;)

      I think it depends on the friend. You obviously cannot overlook sin because it might break your friendship. However, if you know that the person isn't ready for confrontation, I do see how it might be "healthy" to wait. We must not speak on our own accord; rather we need to be asking God for His help. "Is this what You want me to do? How can I say this in a loving way?"

      You can't (and shouldn't) bring up every little sin a person might have. Yet, you also can't accept sin as okay. But even if someone rejects you for confronting them and only argues about how they are right, perhaps the Holy Spirit is working in their life. We just need to follow His leading. =)

      Thanks for bringing up that topic. What I said is just my own opinion...do you have other thoughts? =)

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    2. Thank you for sharing your opinion! I would agree. I wouldn't want to just overlook sin because it would break my friendship, but also I think I would want to make sure it's something God is calling me to do. Also I was thinking about the passage where Jesus says not to try to pick the stick out of your brothers eye without first removing the log from your own. I think that's a good thing to think about. We should think first...do we have sin that needs dealt with? Are we really any better than them? We're obviously not going to be perfect, but I think it's good to "worry" about our own sin first instead of others. The other thought I had was I've found myself having an attitude of looking for sin in others lives. It's like a way to justify myself. I can always find sin in someone else's life if I want to so I think we should not try and look for sin in another person's life. If I notice something that seems like a continual sin that is clearly commanded in the Bible not to do then I should pray about it and if God is leading me to talk to them about it I totally should even if it might damage our relationship. Oh! And I wanted your thoughts on this next point. Would you agree that talking to someone about sin also depends on how deep our friendship is. Like if I'm just getting to know someone would you think it's probably not best right away to come out and lovingly rebuke them for sin? I don't know if that's the right way to think of it, but I guess I'm thinking maybe the depth of the relationship matters too? What do you think?

      And sorry this got so long! :)

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    3. You covered a lot of important points, Hannah. =) I haven't thought deeply about all the various sides to the topic, but I will share some thoughts.

      I understand about being judgmental about sin. Sometimes we push others down or focus on their flaws to make ourselves feel better. That is definitely the wrong mindset. That is why our motives have to be clear. Are we confronting someone to make ourselves feel better? Or are we doing it because we truly love them?

      Hmm...I don't think you can be black and white about this issue. However, I would say that normally you wouldn't confront someone unless you knew them very well. I think someone would just consider you rude if you rebuked their sin without knowing them intimately. I do think that the depth of the relationship makes a huge difference. But that doesn't mean that you can never lovingly show someone that they are sinning...it depends on the circumstances. And, as I said before, it depends on your heart. If Jesus calls you to rebuke someone kindly, you definitely need to obey. =)

      What are your thoughts?

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    4. Let's see...I never replied to this. =)

      And yes, I agree! Are we just confronting others to make ourselves feel better or are we doing it because we truly love them. For sure.

      Yes, I think I would agree! I think if you just meet someone and you're confronting them about sin it probably is not going to help your friendship(not that we should be scared to confront others because it might hurt the friendship, but you know what I mean). I think once we have a pretty deep friendship then we should be more open to confronting them about sin. I think though it's really more about what God is leading us to do. I know people who have confronted others when they really didn't know them extremely well and I'm guessing that God was the one who led them to do that. So I think it doesn't matter near as much if we're close or not close as the question "Is God actually leading me to do this?" or "Is it just me wanting to do it?"

      And I had another thought. I was thinking that maybe we shouldn't confront people (unless God clearly puts it on our heart) that are not obeying "our convictions". Like there are some sort of grey areas in like movies, books, music, and so many other areas and so unless we're able to back it up with the Bible maybe it's not worth confronting them about. What do you think? Like I know some movies that I could confront a person about and be able to back it up with the Bible(for example horror movies and ones that use a lot of witches and magic is clearly going against the Bible), but say for example romance movies I might not be able to back it up with the Bible as well because God doesn't clearly say that romance is wrong(obviously;) like killing, magic, and other things like that. So I don't know what you think, but maybe we should only confront people about things that we can back up with the Bible and aren't just our own personal convictions? And yet there are a lot of important "grey" areas and so I'm not sure on that either...but what do you think? And of course like I've said if God clearly was showing you to confront them about a certain topic you should do it even if it's more a personal conviction. =)

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    5. Hannah, I think there is a difference between challenging someone about an issue and confronting them. In grey areas (as you mentioned, books, movies, music, etc.), you might be convicted to do something, but it isn't clearly spelled out in the Bible. In those cases, you can't really confront someone and say that they are wrong. But I think you can (if God leads you to do so) challenge them by mentioning how God has influenced you to make changes in that area and by asking them why they do what they do. You definitely can't expect someone to agree with you completely on every single area in life...but it is good for you and for them to take time and really dig deeper into the "why" part of life. Why do you read those books? Why do you watch those movies? In our conversation about modesty (a month or so past), I was challenged when both of us really dug down to find out why we believed the way we did...and I'm glad we had those conversations! =) But I can't walk up to someone and say that they are wrong on the issue of modesty...perhaps they haven't been convicted by God to make changes yet. Do you agree? As you said above, you really should make sure that God is the one leading you to start those conversations.

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  2. well written, Hosanna! this was very encouraging! <3

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    1. Aw, thanks Chloë! ♥ I'm blessed to have you as one of my friends. =)

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  3. This is such an inspiring post, Hosanna! I agree with you, it's so good to have Godly relationships. I hope that you have a good day! :)

    With love and all joy,
    Allie D.
    www.alliesblogdesigns.blogspot.com
    www.friendlovesatalltimes.blogspot.com
    www.sincerelyallied.blogspot.com
    www.spreadingmyjoy.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, Allie! I'm glad that you were inspired by the post. While friendships are an important part of life (especially for us as girls), it seems like we often overlook the fact that some friends might not be good for us. We need to be sure that the people around us are lifting us up instead of pulling us down. =)

      Have a wonderful day as well, Allie!

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  4. This was an amazing post, Hosanna! I definitely think the overall coverage was very impacting and helpful! You touched many different aspects of it that are all important. And very helpful Bible verses that went along very well with them.
    One thing I like was how you talked about loving your friend by confronting them. There are many excuses, and I know one of the most common ones is "If I love them, I won't confront them and make them feel bad." And it's so important to realize that loving a friend is also helping them to grow towards Christ by helping them out through struggles and hard times. IT's amazing how backwards friendships can really be sometimes.... :/ Thanks for the post! It was very encouraging!

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    1. I'm glad you were blessed by this post, Josiah! =) The Bible touches on many different aspects of what a godly friendship should look like. While friends shouldn't be pointing fingers at one another, it is important that we lift one another up by encouraging and pushing each other on towards Jesus. Though flattering friends might seem fun at the moment, they won't be edifying for you. Being willing to confront one another is hard, but it is very worthwhile. =) Thanks for your thoughts!

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  5. What a great post, Hosanna! I'm really glad I can call you my friend, even though we don't know each other in person. <3 That's the blessing of being a part of this awesome thing called blogosphere; I get to meet so many cool people--like you! =)
    These points that you covered are very important...especially about Jesus' friendship with His disciples. It might be useful to read about Jesus' relationship with His disciples and His words about friendship in the Gospels so that we can get more insight about this!
    Yeah, it is SUPER important who we hang out with. I have found myself being influenced by who I hang out with--I hope everyone I influence is always influenced positively! (that was a lot of influence, haha...)
    YES love is one of THE MOST important things a friendship can have. And there is a ginormous difference between 'saying love' and 'doing love'. Doing love takes so much sacrifice, but Jesus said that if we truly love our friends, we will lay down our lives for them. And He laid down His life for US, His friends; could we do any more for Him?
    This was a great post, Hosanna! Have a very merry Christmas!
    -Ariel

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    1. I'm thankful to be your friend as well, Ariel. =) It is so cool to look back on how you met a friend and realize, "Wow...that was totally God! I would never have met that person by accident." ♥

      Hmm...that is an interesting thought. Jesus was a good friend, but I don't think we can treat every relationship the way He did. His friendships were more of a teacher-student relationship. While we should definitely have those friendships (encouraging younger believers or the unsaved), because we are humans with flaws we also need stronger believers to encourage us in our faith. Jesus didn't need those friends because...well, no one was wiser or closer to the Father than He was! God WAS His teacher, as He should be for us as well. Do you think that we need both teachers/students in our lives? People who we learn from and who we pour into?

      Oh yes, friend really do influence you. I have noticed how one particular friend has made me change parts of my life majorly (for the better, Lol). That's why friendships can be such a blessing or such a curse.

      Love...that is why friendships take up so much of your time and energy. =) You have to live out your love. Spend time with them. I have noticed times when I haven't had that love, and the friendship didn't feel quite authentic. I really need to work on being completely willing to give up myself for others. =) I think we probably all do.

      Merry Christmas to you too, Ariel!

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    2. Oh, yeah, I didn't think about that whole teacher\student thing...you're right! I definitely think that we need both teachers and students in our lives. I also think that, in a way, we can both be a teacher and a student to our friends, but there is definitely discretion needed in that area. We need to decide when it is best to be a teacher, helping a friend out by giving them advice and direction, or letting OURSELVES be taught.
      Yup. That's the hardest thing about love--it's a verb. Saying it isn't enough. ;) I also need to work on giving myself up, especially in the area of being a faithful friend. =)
      -Ariel

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    3. Thanks for sharing that, Ariel. I didn't think of it in that way, but yes - in a way we can be both teachers and students in the same relationship. I suppose that is partly what distinguishes the difference between friendships with believers and non-believers (as I have been discussing with Jordy below). When you are with fellow Christians, you both learn and share wisdom with one another. However, with non-believers, you have more of the teacher role. You want to guard your heart but also pour yourself out into others. That actually cleared a lot of things up for me. ;) So thank you!

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  6. This is such a relevant topic. I've been thinking recently about relationships, particularly as I'm at a Christian conference centre that seeks to connect with and build relationships with the lost people of the surrounding town. There's a very heavy focus on these relationships with non-Christians. Your blog post made me pause to consider whether that's wrong. But then again, I think there's an even stronger focus on nurturing our relationships with each other, one born again believer to another.

    I believe that it isn't so much that our friendships with non-Christians should be weaker, but rather our friendships with Christians should be stronger. (Yes, they technically mean the same thing... but they also have a different nuance and emphasis) Isn't it a tricky issue to navigate?

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    1. Yes, Jordy. That is a difficult issue to contemplate. We definitely should have relationships with the unsaved. Jesus ate with sinners. He loved them. We shouldn't avoid the unsaved because they aren't believers like we are. I think friendships between saved/unsaved just need to be...different. For instance, I wouldn't pour out all my struggles to an unsaved person. I wouldn't share deeper feelings, emotions, and dreams. They wouldn't end up being my best friend. That doesn't mean that I wouldn't tell an unsaved person my future plans or ask them to pray for me...they need to know that we struggle like everyone else. I think you just need to handle the relationships differently. What are your thoughts on that? =)

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    2. I agree that we should approach relationships with non-Christians differently to how we approach relationships with born-again believers. I share so much in common with my brothers and sisters in Christ; the same God, Lord and Father, the same Saviour, the same Holy Spirit living in us, guiding us on the same path and producing the same fruit in us, the same hope of eternal life, the same desire to know God more, etc. I don't have any of this in common with non-Christians. And yet all these differences can be traced back to a single pivotal difference: I have received God's gracious salvation and they haven't.

      Even so, I think both need to be approached with humility and honesty. I wouldn't engage in the same sort of heart-and-soul relationship with a non-Christian as I would with a sister in Christ. But my connection with a lost person through relationship may be the clearest testimony to God's character that they ever see. So I do still want to be intentional about my relationships with the lost. I want to treasure them and yet surrender them to God.

      What do you think is key to relationships with non-Christians?

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    3. Jordy, something Ariel said made me think differently about the relationship between believers and unbelievers. I think that with fellow brother and sisters of the faith, we take on a student/teacher role. We encourage but are also willing to learn from one another. However, when it comes to the unsaved, we need to guard our hearts, thus taking on the teacher role. We share our faith and passion for Jesus with them, but we don't learn from them in the same manner as we do with believers. Our friendship is not "less"...it is just totally different. What are your thoughts on that?

      Hmm...what is key to relationships with unbelievers? In my opinion, I think one of the most important qualities is just love. Really loving the person shows them so much. It's also important to be open and honest about your faith...we can't hide it because it might make the friendship uncomfortable. But those are just my thoughts. =)

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    4. I think there's a lot of truth to what Ariel said; we should expose ourselves to the positive influence of godly people and guard ourselves against the influence of unbelievers (and of worldly "Christians"). I see how it might be difficult to stay humble if we think of ourselves as their teacher, though. Perhaps we could ask them to teach us about some things (such as nutrition, animals, music, DIY crafts, etc) that they know about, too. I just keep thinking about how the only reason I'm even in a position to "teach" anyone anything spiritual is because of what Jesus did for me. That's not to say that being a teacher and being humble are opposites; I just think we nee to tread carefully not to err on either side.

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    5. True, Jordy. And that applies to many different areas in life. Humility is vital in every relationship. We can definitely learn from unbelievers, but we need to be cautious to not let them draw us away from our faith. I don't know if "teacher" is the right word, but I can't think of another at the moment. We need to show them through our actions and words that we are passionate about Jesus. I wouldn't say that we should think of ourselves as teachers, per se...but we should realize that we know the truth, and the truth can set them free. With that knowledge, should we do anything less than love them by humbly sharing Jesus with them? But yes, humility is very important. =) We do need to tread carefully to remain humble, be vigilant to stand against evil, and take every opportunity to share God's love.

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    6. One line in your last reply stands out to me: "we should realize that we know the truth". Thanks for your thoughts.

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  7. Lovely post, Hosanna! I've been thinking a lot about this recently, so it was nice to read your thoughts. :)

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    1. Isn't that encouraging, Emily? I love when I am thinking on a topic and others around me randomly mention that they have been praying about it as well. =) Being with fellow sisters in Christ is such a blessing. I'm so thankful that I don't have to walk through life alone...not only is Jesus with me, but I also have encouraging friends who are by my side. ♥ Thank YOU!

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