How to be a good friend.
A few years ago, I was going through a rough time in my life. This was from a culmination of things, including some sinful choices on my behalf. I won’t list my sin resume (I took that phrase from Priscilla Shirer) and you don't need to either. What I was doing was causing a war inside of me. I had no peace. I was grieving the Holy Spirit and felt his sorrow, a heaviness in my spirit. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but it was hard to stop by myself. I needed help.
I tried to help myself and not tell anyone what I was doing, but one day when I was in the presence of my good friend, who is a strong Christian woman, I was compelled to tell her what I was doing. The Spirit was leading me to tell her, he knew I needed her. I followed the Spirit’s lead and poured my heart out to her. Told her what I was doing and how I was feeling.
What was her response?
We are meant to be in relationships with others and to help each other out of their sin. This is a crucial aspect in a true friendship. We can’t navigate this life alone. God knows that, too. We are to help other Christians live life honoring and glorifying God.
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2 NLT
And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. Jude 1:22-23 NLT
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16 NLT
Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Hebrews 12:15 NLT
If we don’t apply these verses to our friendships, some serious disaster and/ or consequences can befall our friends and the people in their lives. Remember our choices affect many people, not just ourselves.
Here’s an example:
You and another person are sitting on a bench overlooking a beautiful view off a mountain. Along comes a friend, who is blind, she is looking for you and can’t find her way. She walks very close to the edge, you want to grab her before she falls, but the person sitting next to you stops you.
“Let her do what she wants. It’s her life.” The other person says to you.
“Yes, but she’s blind and can’t see where she is going. I’m her friend and I need to warn her of the danger of falling off the cliff.”
“Yolo. Why are you judging her?” The person asks.
“What? How is that judging? I love her and want what’s best for her,” you answer.
“Maybe she needs to be hurt, so she won’t do it again.”
“If she falls off a cliff she will be seriously hurt or may die. I would want her to help me if I was close to a cliff,” you say.
You jump off the bench and run over to your friend just as she was about to step off the ledge. You saved her life and she is forever grateful for you. She knows not to go out there alone ever again.
That story is a little far - fetched but you get the point. We aren’t being good, loving and helpful friends when we let our friends continue down the wrong path. On the other hand, we need to be able to receive help and correction from our friends, and not be offended.
People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life,
but those who ignore correction will go astray. Proverbs 10:17 NLT
Being a good friend involves many aspects, but it comes down to one basic thing. Loving each other like Jesus loves us.
Dear Lord, I pray that we will hide your word in our hearts, so we won’t sin against you. Thank you for the act of friendships and all the joy and help it brings. Thank you for being our friend. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
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Christina Leeman MPH, CHES, writer and educator emboldens Christian women to live lives worthy of God.
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