Do you consider yourself to be a good friend? A good friend is often considered someone loyal, accepting, and one who invests time in others. In my life, I have had friends that were good friends for only a season and I also have friendships that have survived years and difficult seasons. Looking back, I realize that many of the friendships that didn’t last were simply superficial.
I desire to be a good friend to those in my life, so I looked to scripture to help me ground my friendships in Biblical principles. Jesus spent most of His 33 years on earth living among the people and He had friends. You know that verse in the Bible that simply says, “Jesus wept.”? He wept because his dear friend, Lazarus, had died. Jesus lived and loved people on earth and I want to learn how to be a good and loving friend from His example, not the world’s.
Put Your Friends Before Yourself
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” -Philippians 2:4-7
Jesus came to earth and spent His time here humbly serving others. We need to humble ourselves in our friendships and have hearts to serve our friends. Often, many look at friendships as a transaction. What can I get out of this? How can this friendship make me happier? This approach is the opposite of what Jesus embodied. Pray for your friends and serve them with no expectation of return.
Love Unconditionally and Fully
“When Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.…[He] rose from supper… poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet.” -John 13:1, 4-5
What could be a greater act of unconditional love than to humble yourself before others as Jesus did at this moment? He deserved to be exalted and yet He washed His disciples’ feet. Not only that, He washed the feet of those present who He knew would betray Him and deny Him. Can you say that you serve and love others this fully? Especially those who do not benefit you?
“…she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'” -Luke 10:40-42
Martha felt justified in her complaint to Jesus about her sister. She was doing all of the work and she was frustrated! Jesus sweetly corrects her and points out the flaw in her motivations. Martha worried about the things of this world but Mary knew the time spent with Him was more important. Jesus could have shamed her or admonished her sharply but He chose to lovingly correct. We are also called to lovingly (keyword) correct our friends. This does not involve running to others to complain about how they’ve got it wrong. It involves doing the hard work of taking the time to build a relationship and a safe place for correction. This also involves being secure enough to take correction from friends who do it lovingly with Him in mind.
The world shows us a superficial view of what friendships should look like. The Word shows us that friendships should be selfless, loving, and a place to build each other up. Friendships grounded with these traits will not be superficial and will be pleasing to Him.
Children’s Ministry Director