What does a Culture of Friendship look like? Consider these words from Proverbs:
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 17:17; 18:24; 27:6, 9, 17 ESV)
These are beautiful encouragements. In a world where we’ll feel the difficulty of work and family and relationships, of poverty, depression, anxiety and and frustration…. a world in which we’ll struggle to walk faithfully with our savior… it’s into this difficulty that God gives friends. Someone who loves us at all times and is born for adversity. Someone who sticks with us when life is hard. Someone who has the courage to tell us hard things in a loving way. Someone who sharpens us and points us to Jesus. What a blessing is friendship.
A culture of friendship, then, enables good togetherness to be found. It promotes honest and loving relationships. it’s characterized by people walking side by side together (if you haven’t read the book “Side by Side,” by Ed Welch, I highly recommend it).
Here are a few ideas to chew on regarding friendship:
True Christian friendship is oriented toward a common goal. The side-by-side walking is heading a particular direction and each person is concerned with leading the other in that way.
True Christian friendship is genuine. it’s not just lived on the surface. It seeks pathways toward deeper relationship.
Because of this, true Christian friendship is risky. It takes vulnerability and that takes risk.
True Christian friendship is sacrificial. It will take much more giving that taking.
True Christian friendship is motivated by the friendship of Christ given to us. the Gospel is the fuel for a culture of friendship.
Question to Ponder: How can our church cultivate a culture of friendship? How can we provide opportunities and pathways for walking side by side?