A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we’re one big family. Like our biological family, we have our ups and downs, cries and laughs, sorrows and joys. These experiences should draw us close to one another and strengthen our bonds. Although we’re one big family, it’s not possible to know every single member of the body. But we do have those individuals who we’ve built personal relationships with, and thus we proudly call them our friends. Many of us will attest to having a small circle of close friends – the people we trust, confide in, fellowship with, and support in their ambitions. It is of no surprise that we expect these people, who are fellow believers – to be loyal as friends. But in my experience, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
The common denominator that links us is our faith in Christ. Even if we’re not all on the same level spiritually, we all share the same professing faith. How then, can a friend in the Lord, walk away from a friendship without words? I have experienced this twice with friends who are professing believers. Most of us are aware that some people are just acquaintances, associates, roommates, or ministry/business colleagues. But a friend is distinguished from the rest. The friend is the one you comfortably trust sharing your personal life to, you feel safe opening up to them, and you believe they genuinely love you. If they walk away without an explanation when it was believed the friendship was on seemingly good terms, there are likely two reasons for this: insecurity and immaturity.
Insecurity: being insecure will almost always breed jealousy. When you are not secure in whom you are or in your identity, this opens the door to comparing yourself to others. If you begin to feel that a friend is elevating or more gifted than you, jealousy can certainly arise if you are not cognizant of your own gifts, talents, and value. In God, all of us are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). If you do not recognize your identity in Christ, a spirit of insecurity will surely overcome you. This can cause you to feel threatened by your friend, or unable to relate to them. Cutting off the friendship seems like the natural and best thing to do. But is it the right thing to do? Not if that friend has not harmed or endangered you. God is a God of covenant. We break covenant with our friends in the Lord when we cut ties carelessly. Again, I’m not referring to associates or acquaintances, but FRIENDS. Those are the people we’ve entered a covenant with, whether it was verbally expressed or not.
Immaturity: As humans, we do not all share the same level of maturity. Typically, we’re more mature than some people in specific areas (i.e. handling conflict), and some people are more mature than us in certain areas (i.e. coping with hurt). In a friendship, a friend can become uncomfortable if a situation arises between you two where they’re called to demonstrate maturity. But because they have not mastered the strength or understanding to properly deal with the matter, they back down or allow negative influences to exacerbate weaknesses – causing them to give up on the friendship all together. If a friend has wronged you, and you do not inform them and consequently hold a grudge or un-forgiveness against them, you are just as guilty of wrong as they are.
Jesus teaches us in Matthew 18 to go and tell a brother his fault between you and him alone. “If he hears you, you have gained a brother…” Immaturity can also manifest when a friend has an area of selfishness which is challenged when an issue or predicament surfaces. Here, it is very probable that person will draw away from you if they’d rather hold on to that desire than humble themselves and give unto the friendship what’s needed. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil (1 Corinthians 13: 4-5).
We need to first understand that as sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we are all valuable, gifted and anointed. If you’ve become good friends with a believer, that friend’s strengths should help you overcome your weaknesses, and vice versa. We can actually miss out on certain blessings attached to a friend when we decide to sever ties on unspoken terms. Fear should not present itself in any godly relationship. If you’re afraid of your friend’s potential or oncoming success – or afraid to confront/address them on a particular issue, then you’ve allowed the enemy to sow seeds of fear in your life and you must cast it out. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Keep prayer in the midst of any friendship. It will surely help solidify and tighten the bond. Moreover, celebrate your friend’s achievements and accomplishments. Encourage them in their endeavors and pursuits. Have a servant’s heart in a friendship, and serve your friend with gladness.
In the case you believe there are legitimate reasons to end a friendship with a believer, pray about it first. If the Holy Spirit assures to you this is the right thing to do, possess the courage, maturity, and love to tell that friend that you have to move on. Don’t leave anyone in the dark. It has been said that people come in our life for either a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Everyone is not meant to stay around forever. Even so, we should still strive to be persons of honor and integrity in our dealings with people. The best friends are those who can be honest with you no matter what. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful (Proverbs 27:6). When you’re able to be a good friend, you have what it takes to be a good spouse, sibling, neighbor, and so on. Jesus was truly the best model of such. If we profess to be followers of Christ – our actions, deeds, words and speech should reflect it. Let’s all aim to walk in His timeless example of love, sincerity, humility, character and grace.
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
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