Last year we had a missionary from Kenya speak at our assembly. He shared from the Word and gave a short report on his work. His subject was on relationships and how that in Kenya, building relationships is the most important thing. He then used that as a way to present how God considers a relationship with us the most important thing as well.
It got me thinking. Why is it that some relationships are so much tougher to maintain than others? What makes a good relationship? What makes me a good friend or a bad friend? Here are a few thoughts on friendships.
Good friends show love
You would think that I wouldn’t have to list this here, but I believe this to be the essence of building strong relationships. As we grow in Christ, there ought to be an evident, tangible expression of love for others.
If we look at the Lord as our perfect example, it was His love for us that sealed our relationship with Him. We sang in the Lord’s Supper recently that He cannot cease to love us. It’s not just that He told us He loved us but that He showed it. So in turn we must show our love for one another.
Good friends show concern
My mind thinks of one of my best friends, Roy. We get together about once a month for breakfast and have great fellowship at the assembly we attend. One of the things I appreciate about him is that he is constantly checking up on me and asking how I’m doing.
He goes out of his way to make sure he says hi and to see how I am doing. When we get together each month, we catch up on what’s going on in each other’s lives. I so value that time we spend together.
Good friends play together
Ok this makes it sound like we are in the 2nd grade, but the point is that to build solid relationships there needs to be time spent just enjoying good company. This could be an activity such as a sport, group games or just heading down to the local park and sitting chatting.
One of the greatest aspects of my assembly is that we do a lot of fun stuff together. We have games nights, picnics, BBQs and other fun times together. It keeps us close as we have fun together.
My firm belief is that people who are close friends will be able to work through conflict when (not if) it arises.
Good friends eat together
This might seem similar to the point above, but it’s not. There is something about eating with friends that takes on a different atmosphere. I believe it centers around talking.
When we eat with others, the main goal is to talk. That is often where lives are shared the most, hearts are opened and we see into each other’s lives.
Good friends open their homes to each other
I want to make a point here about hospitality. When I was young it was very common (several times a month) that we either had other believers in our home or went to other people’s homes for fellowship.
Almost always there was food (point 4), often we would play some games (point 3) and often there was singing as well. I believe that hospitality has died out and that because of that, not only are people’s homes closed, but their hearts are too.
It’s time we got back to this much needed practice. It doesn’t have to be a big meal. Often we would have people over after an evening meeting and ask them to pick up some snacks on the way. They were very glad to do that and the evening revolved around the relationship, not how fancy the food was or how tidy the house was.
Maybe it’s pride that gets in the way of asking others to come into our homes. I would encourage you to consider this in your own life and consider hospitality. Is your home open to others enjoying fellowship on a regular basis?
Good friends forgive each other
This is sooooooooooooooooooo important. I put it last to emphasize how damaging it can be when a believer does not forgive others. It can divide families, churches and friendships. The Bible is clear that as much as Christ has forgiven us we MUST forgive others (Col 3:13).
What does it mean to forgive? It means to completely wipe away the wrong from our minds, hearts and actions. It essentially erases the wrong so that it never appears again. I have seen the damage of not forgiving and it’s not pretty. It’s time we laid down our pride and arrogance and reached out to those we have chosen not to forgive and mend the relationship. It’s not a choice. It’s what the Lord expects from us.
There are, of course, many other aspects to friendships and relationship building. Whole books have been written on the subject. These were just a few thoughts that came to mind as I listened to the subject being preached.
Thank God for giving us a body of fellow believers to love, care for, have fun with, eat with, open our homes to and forgive when needed. Let’s build stronger relationships and in doing so honor the Lord who built the greatest relationship of all by coming to be our Saviour.