Friendship is one of the gifts I hold dearest to my heart. I love that God designed us for community and leads us by example in how to love each other. There are things other people do for me that touch my heart in ways I can’t imagine living without, you know?
Because I love people and am so thankful for the gift of friendship, I think it should be held to a high standard. Friends aren’t to be taken advantage of, forgotten about or left out hanging out to dry. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, our friends included.
As I’ve been thinking about friendship this month, here are 4 Biblical truths that shed great light onto how we should live life with our friends.
1. Live with a spirit of steadfast love and faithfulness. (Proverbs 3:3)
Love your friends with a steadfast love after God’s own love for us, and a spirit of faithfulness. Being faithful to a friend in steadfast love means loving them even when they’re in a sour mood, it means celebrating with them over life’s joys and it means crying with them when they’re in the pits of despair. It means sticking together through life, no matter what comes at you.
2. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Relationships are hard – feelings get hurt, bitterness threatens to simmer in the pits of our hearts and we don’t like being wrong. But forgiveness is a powerful thing, and we have a great example of the power of forgiveness in our God. He washed away our sins, the sins that he knows we will continue struggling with, the sins we have yet to even commit! Despite that knowledge, he sent his Son to pay the price for us to be in a relationship with him. That’s quite the example of forgiveness. Fight for your friends the way God fights for us.
3. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. (James 5:16)
Have you ever shared a deep hurt with a friend who then asked to pray over you? Prayer brings healing, and it brings you closer together. I not only want to be quick to comfort my friends, but I want to be quick to pray with them.
The other key part of this truth is that in friendship, we should feel free to confess our sins to one another. The benefit of accountability only extends as far as we can be truthful. I don’t want surfacey friendships, where we can only discuss the easy and light parts of life. I want friends who will get into the battle with me – who will patiently listen to my confessions, but who will call me out of my sin and remind me of the truth of the gospel. I want to be that friend for my friends.
4. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Like I wrote in the letter to myself last week, life is short. And it’s not all about us – it’s all about Him. Let’s not let this life waste away with our worlds revolving around ourselves. Let’s get together with friends, let’s laugh, let’s study the Word, let’s stir each other up to love and good works! Let’s stir each other up so that, above all else, we strive to be faithful to the One who made us and gave us all we have.
Do you have friends like this? If so, tell them, “Thanks!” today! They are diamonds in the rough. Are you this friend to your friends? How can you grow to be more like this kind of friend?