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Reflecting Christ in Our Friendships: What are God's thoughts on our relationships?

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

Godly friendships are essential in life. What should we do when we have friends that aren't believers? We should be in close friendships with those who don't know Jesus so that we can share about Him, right? Not necessarily.

The Bible offers a lot of wisdom on relationships, especially in Proverbs. First, we are going to unpack some verses that serve as warnings for relationships:

"The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray."(Prov. 12:26)

"Do not be deceived: 'Bad company corrupts good morals.'" (1 Corin. 15:33)

"Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?" (2 Corin. 6:14)

"A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends." (Prov. 16:28)

"One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (Prov. 18:24)

"Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered,

or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared." (Prov. 22:24-25)

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy." (Prov. 27:6)

"Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm." (Prov. 13:20)

Why do you think God offers us so much guidance on our friendships?

For one, He knows how deeply our friends influence us. We often mold to their behaviors and beliefs, and unfortunately, we tend to acquiesce to their worldly behaviors instead of standing firm on the Truth. God knows our flesh is weak; so, He gives us warnings to help us thrive in our relationship with Him.

Also, God knows we need godly friends to help us grow in our faith! Fellowship with other believers is so important, and it strengthens us in our walk with God. Our Father knows the hearts and minds He made, so He most certainly recognizes our need for Christian companionship.

In reference to these verses, we must choose our friends carefully because their company can corrupt our morals if we choose unwisely. The Bible actually warns against close companionship with unbelievers. We are to be lights to them. We are to love them. However, we should not be in very intimate relationships with them because of the negative influences they could have on our faith and walk with Christ. This is true for dating relationships or friendships; we are not to be unequally yoked. This does NOT mean we shun unbelievers, speak unkindly to them, or refuse to associate with them (We have to associate with them to share the Truth!); they just should not be the ones with the most access to our lives. They aren't in God's Word. They don't follow Him. So, how could we rely on them to help us grow in our faith?

The Bible also warns us to not spread gossip or associate with easily-angered individuals. It can harm or ruin friendships and testimonies. Additionally, we should choose reliable, loyal friends and also BE reliable, loyal friends! We cannot expect to have friends that will stand by us like family if we are unwilling to be that friend to others.

People who flatter us aren't necessarily our friends. Often, flatterers will gossip about others behind their backs but pretend to love them to their faces. This aligns with the "kisses of an enemy" verse. It's better to endure the hard truth from a faithful friend than it is to be fed flattering lies from those who hate us.

Frequently, who we walk with determines our own path. We cannot simultaneously walk the wide path and the narrow path. It is one or the other; it cannot be one foot on the wide path and the other on the narrow path. That's why Scripture encourages us to walk with the wise to become wise. When we are companions with fools, we will suffer harm. We must pay attention to these warnings. God knows the weaknesses of our flesh; we should follow His guidance in all our relationships.

On another note, the Bible offers tips on how to have healthy, godly friendships too!

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." (Prov. 27:17)

"Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted."(Gal. 6:1)

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (1 Thess. 5:11)

"Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice." (Prov. 27:9)

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:13)

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity." (Prov. 17:17)

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." (Col. 3:12-14)

We are to model these behaviors in each of our friendships. We should consistently love, sharpen, forgive, sacrifice, advise, restore, and encourage each other as we walk the narrow path. We must also look to the character of God to determine how we should behave in our relationships. For example, God always stays true to who He is, regardless of how we wrong or hurt Him. Second Timothy 2:13 reads, "If we are faithless, He remains faithful,

for He cannot deny Himself." We must do the same. We cannot become vengeful because we are hurt. God called us to forgive. We cannot change who we are in Christ because we have been hurt or wronged by a friend. As we seek godly friendships, we must pray for God to refine us INTO godly friends. To reflect Christ in your friendships, use the iron to sharpen each other, not stab each other.

Blessings to you!

~Ally B.

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