Christian Friendship and Fellowship
Having friends can be dangerous. Humans are imperfect. People do bad things to other people. When people do bad things to us, it has two main effects. First of all we are hurt. Secondly we are disappointed - let down. When these two symptoms are mixed together, they pull us down.
We need good Friends
Our happiness and proper functioning as people depends on us having others that we can meet who we feel that we can relate with. We are not made to be alone.
For people who are not socially confident, or who have been wounded by past friendships or relationships, it can be hard to break through the fear of getting hurt again and reach out to make friends. It is wise to be emotionally guarded when making friends. However, we cannot always protect ourselves form getting hurt. In the end, even good, long standing friends can betray us, use us or badly let us down in other ways.
In friendship, it is important to be realistic. People are not like God, and in their imperfection, they are bound to let us down in some way. We should expect this, and be cautious about how much we trust others, particularly at first. If we have lower expectations, we are less likely to be disappointed. We must place God as our security, so that if and when we are let down, we do not lose heart or become despondent in life.
We need to understand what friendship is really about. Good friendship is not selfish or exclusive. Many people have friends as mere extensions of their own selfishness. They need friends to fill time, to amuse themselves and to feed a type of self idolatry. However, such people live in sin by abusing the gift of friendship. Friendship is two-sided and mutual. It should also look to the needs of others and welcome those outside a friendship group in. Selfish friendship trends to be exclusive, existing within an established social group and selfishly not allowing others to participate.
The Difference Between Friendship and Fellowship
Being a member of a church has both its negative and positive points as far as friendship is concerned. On the negative side, they may be some limitation - depending on the size of your church, as to the number of people that you get on with and feel that you can relate to (for example, people your own age or of similar life background). If there are few people who you would naturally get along with then this may make having Christian friends difficult.
Christian fellowship, that is simply being with and interacting with other Christians, should not be confused with deeper friendship. We need some deeper friends to share our needs and desires with. Fellowship, in the more general sense of the word, is not enough.
Churches should breed an atmosphere that encourages and allows deeper friendship. As churches seek to be truly unified in attitude and purpose, inter church social activities can bring the opportunity for those needing friends (or even partners) to meet new Christians. Such activities can also bring more unity between churches and so make praying for and evangelising local areas much more effective.
Be a Friend or find a Friend?
I have often heard it said “if you want a friend, be a friend”. Well, this is easier said than done. Usually, - hopefully, those who want friends are more than happy to be friends with others - they have learnt the value of friendship, and have every intention of being a good friend to others and showing genuine concern. You cannot be a friend to someone who does not want to be a friend with you. It is certainly a good thing to be concerned and to act as a friend to those who we can see are marginalised, lonely or in emotional or other need. However, such friendship does not always meet with a positive response and in any case may not lead to deeper friendship because of, for example, an age barrier or another social barrier.
In essence, true friendship, the type that encourages Christian spiritual growth and human fulfilment, is that which allows all parties concerned to be free to “be themselves”. If we have true friends, we can have some confidence that we are accepted as we are. Whilst this does not mean that we will share every deep personal concern or problem. We know some friends well enough that we will not share everything with them. We have learnt that in some areas of life or opinion we differ from them in our outlook and so we know that it is better to keep silent on certain subjects. Nevertheless, on some level we are recognised and respected by that person as the valuable individual that God has made us to be.
Dealing with Pain and Disappointment
WARP TO TOP!