True friendship involves action: doing something for someone else while expecting nothing in return. Trust is essential to true friendship. We all need someone with whom we can share our lives, thoughts, feelings, and frustrations. We need to be able to share our deepest secrets with someone, without worrying that those secrets will end up on the Internet the next day! Failing to be trustworthy with those intimate secrets can destroy a friendship in a hurry. Faithfulness and loyalty are key to true friendship. Without them, we often feel betrayed, left out, and lonely.
In true friendship, there is no backbiting, no negative thoughts, no turning away. True friendship requires certain accountability factors. Real friends encourage one another and forgive one another where there has been an offense. Genuine friendship supports during times of struggle. Friends are dependable. In true friendship, unconditional love develops. We love our friends no matter what and we always want the best for our friends. True Friendship – Examples of Real Friendship True friendship stories are found throughout the Bible. In Genesis 18:17-33, we read about God sharing His intentions with Abraham.
Abraham responds by telling God his thoughts and feelings about the situation. God and Abraham are able to do this because they trust and respect each other. First Samuel 20 focuses on the friendship of David and Jonathan. These two men truly cared for each other and had great trust and confidence in one another. David was running for his life from Jonathan’s father, Saul. Jonathan recognized that David was innocent. Because of the true friendship they shared, David survived Saul’s assassination attempts and went on to become one of Israel’s greatest kings.
Real and true friendship involves freedom of choice, accountability, truth, and forgiveness. Peter and Jesus give us this example: Peter, afraid for his life after Jesus is led away from the Garden of Gethsemane, denies knowing Jesus (John 18). As He is led away by His accusers, Jesus casts a look toward Peter that says, “I knew you would deny Me, and I forgive you” (John 21). Real friendship looks at the heart, not just the “packaging. ” Genuine friendship loves for love’s sake, not just for what it can get in return. True friendship is both challenging and exciting.
It risks, it overlooks faults, and it loves unconditionally, but it also involves being truthful, even though it may hurt. Genuine friendship, also called “agape” love, comes from the Lord. The Lord Jesus calls us His friends and He laid down His life for us (John 15). Relationships in real life involve different levels of friendships, and that’s okay. But humans are designed by God for lasting relationships. Often our isolationist society offers only vague, empty relationships. God wants us to have friends here on earth. Most of all, He wants us to be friends with Him!
God’s Word tells us that a friend sticks closer than a brother, and that in order for one to be a friend, one must show themselves friendly (Proverbs 18:24). The question is: what type of friend do you desire to be? Proverbs 18:19 in the New Living Translation says: “It’s harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars. ” When we’ve offended a true friend – whether by breaking a trust or by speaking the truth with love – we risk losing that friendship.
We must be careful not to break the trust. But when not speaking the truth will cause greater hurt in our friend’s life, we must be willing to sacrifice our needs for those of our friend. That is true friendship. If we sometimes offend a friend without meaning to, God’s Word offers a solution. It’s called forgiveness. There is no greater example than the love of God for us. It is so great that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, in order that our friendship with God might be restored. He did that in spite of the fact that we have offended Him deeply.
We have disobeyed His commands, turned our backs on Him, and followed our own path. So the question remains: What type of friend do you want to be? True Christian friendship forgives. Do you need a friend? God wants to be your true friend. Are you longing for companionship? God is always with you (Hebrews 13:5). Who do you know who needs a true friend today? God wants you to befriend others. He calls us to be His hands and feet in a world starving for true friendship. Learn More! Love Thy Neighbor Love Thy Neighbor – What’s the Origin of this Phrase? Love thy neighbor” is a term that’s become almost cliched over the years. But where did it originate, and what does it really mean? In a time when neighbors, at least in America, are people we rarely see (thanks to garage door openers and busy lives), or are thought of as nuisances with barking dogs and noisy children, how can we possibly love our neighbors? Love thy Neighbor – Christ’s Answer to Religion Love thy neighbor was, in part, Jesus’ answer when the Pharisees, the chief religious sect of that day, asked Him about the greatest commandment in the Law (See Matthew 22:36-40).
These religious leaders had made almost an art form of classifying all the various laws and giving them relative degrees of importance, so in asking Jesus this question, their aim was to test Him. His answer stunned them: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ‘ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ‘ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Jesus was summing up all the law in these two statements.
If we love the Lord God with all our heart, soul and mind, loving our neighbor is the natural result. The question then is, who is our neighbor, and how do we love him or her? Let’s look at who Jesus says our neighbor is: You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. ‘ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:43) Is our neighbor more than the guy next door? Could he or she be someone in our community or almost anyone we meet? Could our enemies also be our neighbors? Jesus says that it’s so.
But how can we love someone who acts hatefully toward us? When we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we grow to recognize that everyone is part of His creation. Will everyone be in heaven? No, but that’s not because God doesn’t desire that to be the case. His Word tells us that God desires that all would be saved (1Timothy 2:4). So it’s clear that God sees all of us as potential children. Because He lives outside of time and has seen the end from the beginning, He also knows who will choose salvation and who will not.
For us, that is where faith comes in. It is not for us to know who will choose Him and who will not, but we are called to be His witnesses. In order to fulfill that calling, we must love others enough to desire their salvation just as He does. Here’s the good news for those who find this teaching difficult: Nowhere does it say we have to like our neighbor! As for the how part of this formula, we turn to these words from the Apostle Paul. In Romans 13:8-10, Paul says: Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Love Thy Neighbor – Get to Know Jesus “Love thy neighbor” is not as hard as it looks on the surface. It simply means respecting others and regarding their needs and desires as highly as we regard our own.
Keeping this commandment, however, is likely to require the supernatural assistance only God, through Christ, can provide. How can we learn to love the guy next door with the barking dog, especially when we don’t even like him? Perhaps the secret is to recognize that our neighbor, whether it’s the guy next door, the checker at the local grocery store, or the Sunday school teacher at church, is someone as worthy of God’s love as you or I. In The Message paraphrase of the Bible, John 1:14 is expressed as follows: The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. Could it be that the way we love our neighbor is through getting to know Christ, the living Word of God? It’s human nature to emulate those we admire most, so in getting to know Christ, we’ll discover a God worthy of our whole-hearted love, and our neighbor will see that love in us. Another pure way to love thy neighbor is to help children in need.