I should really be working on my Bible study right now, but I feel compelled.
Compelled to share some thoughts on Christian friendships.
I feel that the Lord is pressing on my heart to share these thoughts, and I pray that there is someone out there right now who will be blessed and encourage by the following.
Friendships can be fickle. Whether you are a believer or a non-believer. When you are a believer who is still maintaining friendships with non-believers you expect ridicule, condemnation, criticism, and comments such as, “oh, you are such a Bible thumper”, or “don’t go getting all religious on me now”. Just accept them for what they are, which is nothing more than their attempts to not look at themselves.
However, when you are dealing with friendships with other believers the “rules” change. There are expectations: love, mercy, grace, conviction (when necessary), honesty, words spoken in due season, encouragement (and to encourage), and uplifting. What is not expected is: offense, silent-treatment, being ignored, back-biting, or condemnation with the express intent to hurt.
When a believer is faced with a situation such as one of these with fellow believers and you are confused (have you truly searched your heart for an answer) it can be deflating. There is a temptation to wonder why you have chosen to walk this path. May I encourage you and say, ‘it’s not about them, it’s all about Jesus’! Seriously, I know that may sound so contrite but it really is all about Jesus.
Let me tell you about a situation my Oak Tree and I faced. There was a couple in our lives that not only did we consider friends, but they also had the title role in our lives (as far as we were concerned) as ‘spiritual parents’. When my Oak Tree had to have an unexpected surgery done they were there. Through the thick and the thin of it all. We did dinners together, Bible – studies together and our relationship was growing. They were wonderful friends: encouraging, uplifting, and always a word in due season. But suddenly, about two years ago everything changed. They kept pushing off invitations for dinner, stopped returning phone calls, and eventually disconnected their phone number. We were numb.
Both my Oak Tree and I went to the Lord repeatedly in prayer seeking for a revelation as to what we had done to cause such a sudden and dramatic change in our relationship with them. We were confused. We were sad. We felt as though someone had just taken away our best friends ~ something had.
We began asking God if something was wrong with one of them (physically) and how we could best pray for them. Neither of us could put a finger on anything that we may have said or done. We were both praying we had not offended them in some way.
To this day, we still do not know what happened to that relationship. At one point we began to believe that maybe Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 was at play here…and that is what we still believe. The Lord puts things and people in our lives for a season. Sometimes that season is a lifetime, and other times it is not. We are no longer saddened by the loss, but thankful for the time we had in that relationship. We still pray that they are well, and continually ask the Lord to bless them and show favor to them.
My point to sharing that story is this: while you may be tempted to question Christianity, or heaven forbid, walk away from Christ, I encourage you to run to the One True Friend you will ever have, the One Who sticks closer to you than a brother, the One Who will never leave you or forsake you ~ Jesus. When you call on the name of the Lord He is always faithful to hear you, He is the shelter in the storm, He is your ever present help in time of need and the perfect example of friendship. Let Him lead you and guide you through this tumultuous storm.
I leave you with this: Ecclesiates 3:1-8, “To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
8 A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.”
Be blessed. Know that you are loved by the perfect Father in heaven. Trust in Him with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. He will direct your paths.