By: Amanda Frittz
God created us to have fellowship with one another. As humans, we have a biological deep-rooted desire to have emotionally intimate relationships.
Our desire for connection can even have an effect on our health if it is not fulfilled. This isn’t just from the Bible either, it’s been studied and proven. Here’s a link to some statistics and here’s a more digestible article that goes over the statistics found.
What does a true friend look like and how can you become one?
God has given us a layout of what true friendship should look like. We don’t have to do any guessing! He has already laid out the foundation for his children of how to truly love someone in the Bible.
A True Friend is Quick to Forgive & Slow to Anger
1 Corinthians 13:4-5 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way…”
We are all sinners. Take that in… no, seriously take that in.
We all sin, but we often raise our friends and family to impossibly high standards. At least, I know I’ve been guilty of this countless times before.
Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
When you put your friends and family on a pedestal they don’t belong on you’re sure to be devastated when they let you down. It might even seem like your world is crumbling.
However, when you keep them level with yourself and realize that they are sinners too the disappointment won’t be so devastating and it will be easier to forgive them.
Psalm 18:2 “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
We have to remember that God is our only rock. We can treasure our friends and family, but they will fall short to show us perfect love.
Matthew 6:15 “but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Knowing that we must forgive our friends and family, just as God has forgiven us for our trespasses.
A True Friend Puts God First
Acts 28:31 “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.”
True friends aren’t going to worry about tip-toeing around the truth in order to avoid offending you. They will preach God’s truth to you and remain bold in their faith.
Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple”
While this doesn’t actually mean we should hate our brothers and sisters it DOES mean we should love them less. We should always value God above our friendships and come to realize that if our friends are indeed true friends they will understand our hearts convictions and take corrections with grace.
Yes, sometimes our own convictions or corrections may indeed offend our friends or make them uncomfortable. However, if they are a true friend you’ll be able to walk out those hard conversations and remain friends at the end of the day.
I myself haven’t always been very good about this. I would continue with activities that made me uncomfortable because I didn’t want to ruin anyone’s time.
My hearts convictions were not what I held above all else. However, as my faith has grown I’ve begun to care less about how people perceive me and more about how God perceives me. Now, if friends are watching something I don’t want to watch or playing a game I don’t want to play I will speak up.
Sure, it’s a bit uncomfortable at first but it gets easier with time.
A True Friend Leads You Back to God When You Are Going Astray
Proverbs 14:!2 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
True friends are going to correct you when they see you walking in the wrong direction because they care about your eternity.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”
We are to bring light to any missteps we see our brothers and sisters making. Remember to have the right heart posture correcting however, bringing light to sin should not make us feel superior. The correction should be done out of love knowing that what they are doing will lead to hurt.
Also, be careful not to speak into areas that you are mutually struggling with as you guys could end up enabling each other to continue in those habits. For example, if you are struggling with putting down your husband you should not correct a sister who is also doing the same.
A correction is much more effective if it’s coming from someone who is a positive example of how to walk correctly.
I myself have been given correction in my church community. A few months ago I was offended by a member of the church and my discretion in the situation was not what it should have been.
Instead of immediately going to talk to that person I confided in friends. While this may not seem all that terrible, it had the potential to cause some bitterness among the community.
So, an elder in my church pulled my husband and myself aside and gave me some advice for future offenses. While this didn’t necessarily feel good to my flesh
True Friends Sacrifice Their Comfort for One Another
Galatians 5:13 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
True friends are going to sacrifice their comfort and personal desires to serve one another.
As children of God, we are
Not that either of these things are inherently bad, but sometimes they must be sacrificed for the sake of a friend.
If a friend comes to me for help with kids or dinner I want to make myself available to help them. Even if helping them means sacrificing some of my personal desires.
Sure, that may mean less me time or a little less cash but I take joy in serving my friends. Okay… maybe I don’t always immediately, but I never regret making a sacrifice for friends.
Serving our brothers and sisters in times of need is always rewarding. Even if you don’t feel it