"Thoughts on the Biblical View of Friendships"
Titus Two Section

Subject : Thoughts on the Biblical View of "Separation" and Various Levels of "Friendships"
Posted by Tamara Eaton on Friday, 26 June 1998, at 7:37 a.m.

We've had some recent discussions here on friendships and relationships with others and I'd like to share a good article with you. Earlier this year, I printed off copies to share with my teens so we could discuss again the various levels of friendships. Since it doesn't go into details in some areas, I'm including another link to a second article on "Separation" that adds more to the "balanced picture" of our relationships with others. We've stressed to our children the need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and His desire and purpose as He brings others across our paths.

I also shared a copy of the friendship article with my best friend (besides my husband) so she'd be blessed, too. By the way, my best friend was not a Christian when I first met her years ago, but I could sense the Lord was drawing me toward her --I really liked her, I soon had a burden for her to know the Lord and give her life fully to Him, I shared with her from my life of loving the Lord and what a difference it had made but used wisdom in how much to say at first.

Within a few months, she dedicated her life fully to the Lord, we studied the Bible together, shared devotional thoughts and prayers and were able to share in the journey of growing in the Lord together. Over the years we progressed through various levels of friendship and the key element has always been our mutual commitment to keep the Lord first in our lives, to edify one another in Him, challenge and exhort one another when needed, support one another in our primary roles as wives and mothers, and PRAY for one another.

I share this as an example of what the Lord can do in our lives. If I had not pursued getting to know her better because she wasn't a Christian, I would have missed out on this *beautiful* friendship. If I had only taken her on as an "evangelistic *project*", I might have missed understanding and appreciating the beautiful things the Lord was already doing in her life. If I had allowed her to influence me when she was not walking with the Lord, it could have pulled me down. But by purposing to glorify God in this relationship --and in each level of friendship, and by being sensitive to His leading, He blessed us both --more than words could convey! We probably won't fully understand the significance of it all until Eternity --His plans for both of us included one another.

One more thing and then I'll share the links *grin*...

I tell my children regularly: *Make a positive difference in someone's life!* We affect one another *daily* --the important thing is to be co-laborers WITH Him, abiding IN Him and we'll bring forth much fruit.

May we all glorify Him in all of our relationships!

Article on Friendship:
http://www.realtime.net/~wdoud/topics/friendships.html

Article on Separation:
http://www.realtime.net/~wdoud/topics/separation.html

In His Abiding Joy and Strength,

Tamara


Subject : Re: Pondering the biblical view of friendship and would appreciate your insight and experience.
Posted by Kate Megill on Wednesday, 15 July 1998, at 10:32 p.m., in response to Pondering the biblical view of friendship and would appreciate your insight and experience., posted by Doree on Wednesday, 15 July 1998, at 9:35 p.m.

Dear Doree,

I understand your questions but I think I see things from a different point of view. I don't see where the second type (the real kindred spirit friendship) feeds the flesh any more than the first one does. I have had a few real kindred spirit friendships in my life and I treasure them greatly. Because each one of them has been a combination of both of the two types of friends you mention. How can true kindred spirits in Christ be anything else?

Do we think that because the kindred spirit kind of friend is fun for us then it must be of the flesh? Do we think that because our easy and enjoyable friendship can bring tender and loving reproof that is winsome that this cannot be of God?

I have had hard friendships, where the person was unlovable or where I was unlovable; I have had hard friendships where I was being discipled but we were not on equal plains together; I have had hard friendships where we related past one another but worked for each other's ultimate best; I have had easy friendships but without much depth; and I have had easy friendships that have given me great joy and that I will treasure for eternity. God has been in the midst of each of these and I have learned much.

It is important for us to remember that God sometimes gives us those "breaths of fresh air" in our kindred spirit relationships and we should not toss them aside thinking they are "feeding the flesh" simply because they are a joy to both parties.

"Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow." James 1:17

David speaking of Jonathan as he learns of his dear friend's death:

"I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; you have been very pleasant to me, your love to me was more wonderful than the love of women." 2 Sam 1:26

David had friends who were willing to speak truth to him and work for his ultimate best, but scripture speaks of Jonathan as a soul mate, where their hearts were knit together. I think this is the kindred spirit friend you are talking about and both loved one another as themselves. This is good and honoring to the Lord.

In His Joy and Grace,
Kate Megill


Subject : Re: Is your friend an alligator or a rose?
Posted by shirley clasey on Thursday, 16 July 1998, at 5:39 p.m., in response to How do you handle a friend that can't tell the truth?, posted by Debbie on Thursday, 16 July 1998, at 5:07 p.m.

I have been in this same situation.The problem is..you are a helper..you keep wanting to help her regardless. This is the same way I was a couple of years ago. A good friend of mine reminded me that there are some people who are takers and never givers.. they will continue to drain you at all cost. I think satan can use this also because we are so drained from others that we are no good for him or our own families. I do not believe this is his plan for us!

Also, I read a book once..The Friendships Of Women by Dee Brestin [chfweb.com note: You can buy this book through Our Favorite Books Bookstore's. *Order Now!*](excellent). She talks about "is your friend an alligator or a rose?" If there an alligator..RUN..if there a rose..they are sweet,nice and soft..they have thornes that stick and hurt sometime (we've all been hurt by our friends) but that's not a roses intent. These are the friendships we are to cultivate.It's hard to know when enough is enough..but as for me and my alligator friend..we just grew farther and farther apart. When you are so drained..you can't be effective for Christ or your family.I will be praying, Shirley


Subject : Re: How do you handle a friend that can't tell the truth?
Posted by Kate Megill on Thursday, 16 July 1998, at 9:47 p.m., in response to How do you handle a friend that can't tell the truth?, posted by Debbie on Thursday, 16 July 1998, at 5:07 p.m.

Dear Deb,

The gal who discipled me many years ago used to say that we need to be careful who we pour our lives into. Paul instructed Timothy: "And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also." (2 Tim 2:2)

There are those who we will disciple, those "faithful men (women)" that Paul talks about and it will be a joy and blessing to watch them soak up the truths of God and to turn their lives around in surrender to Him. These are the ones who we should focus our time and effort on.

Then there are those who "claim" they want to change, but when they are reproved or brought face to face with their short comings, there is always an excuse, a crisis that got in the way, something that wasn't their fault...no repentance, no surrender...just words. These are the ones who drain and exhaust us because the lifeblood of Jesus is not filling their souls.

I have had a few of these in my life. I was once reproved for pouring so much of my life into one of these gals. I was told that there were a number of women who needed and wanted my help, but I wasn't available because I was so consumed by this one gal and she showed no signs of change or even a deep desire to change. I finally came to the place where I had to tell her that I could be her friend, but I would not give her any more advice or try to bail her out of any crisis until she showed me that she was serious about wanting to change. That God only gave me a very limited ministry and I felt him calling me to work with those who really wanted to change. Whenever she was willing, I was available, but that I wouldn't allow her to play games with God or the church through me anymore.

I know, I can be a really hard egg...but I don't think Jesus was soft and gentle on those playing religion but refusing to pay the price. I heard nothing of her for several years, and then she called me one day and there was a big change in her manner. God had brought her to a place where she was finally willing to surrender. We spent the next several months in deep discipleship and she grew by leaps and bounds. But I have other friends who have just fallen away all together because they were not willing to surrender all, but just wanted to play Christian.

I don't know if this brings more confusion or helps at all. Just thought I'd share some of my experiences.

In His Joy and Grace,
Kate Megill


Subject : Re: Biblical Friendship or Expectations of Christian Friends?
Posted by Cindy on Sunday, 19 July 1998, at 11:56 p.m., in response to Pondering the biblical view of friendship and would appreciate your insight and experience, posted by Doree on Wednesday, 15 July 1998, at 9:35 p.m.

Hi Doree,

Two things before I share my thoughts;

you originally wrote about a 'true friend' . . "She cares for you whether you adore her or despise her .. . she would let you go, but keep you in her heart and prayers" This is true. I just need to add that her heart would hurt and she would grieve.

Secondly, your second post was a blessing and very inspiring. : )

So here are my [long winded] thoughts . . .

Biblical friendship is not about the kind of friendship you have, but what kind of friend you are. God has asked us to be a friend to the friendless, to the unlovely, etc. Friendship is an 'extension' kind of thing.

It is extending His grace - as He works in the lives of others.

It is extending His love - towards another when that's hard to do.

It is extending His forgiveness - not because they are sorry, but because He has forgiven us so much. (No record of their short comings allowed)

It is extending His patience - as another sometimes wrestles and struggles to learn what God is trying to teach them.

The friendships you described are both gifts from God. Treasures. And 'by products' as well, of your friendship extended towards another.

Friendship is a convenant word. Today however people find it easy to 'break covenant'. To stop being a true friend because it got hard or it got uncomfortable, or they didn't like what they saw in the other so . . . time to find better, more spiritually, mature friends.

The early church constantly devoted themselves to instruction, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. (interestingly it doesn't list sports, friendship hunts - for us or our children-, social events nor homeschooling) God recently challanged my heart, saying, "This is the ministry I want for you. Constantly devoting yourself to fellowship; share and confess, worship, hurt, encourage, be real -not perfect- with others every chance you get. Make the most of every opportunity I give you. This will more than sufficiantly fill the *need* for friendship. (Friendship and fellowship can be two different things).

Your first description of a true friend holds alot of high expectations. . . you will be disappointed. God and God alone is the best source for what you are looking for in a friend. And then it doesn't stop there -- but it flows from you to those the Lord puts upon your heart and into your path. Whether that person has a more serious personality or is just plain fun. Whether that person is mutally encouraging and spiritually stimulating or unable to be so because of pain in their life. Whether that person knows God or is seeing Him for the first time through the friendship you are extending.

So those are my thoughts, now I will go ponder, before the Lord, your second post. : )

Because of Him,
Cindy

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"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
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Isaiah 54:13