Friendship - Part 2
To Be a Friend
Though it is wonderful to be blessed with good friends, we must also ponder what type of friend we are being. Every relationship that we have in life will involve us not only receiving, but also giving. Are we being the type of friend that we would like to have?
It is a good idea to consider some questions, “Am I being the friend God would have me to be? Am I encouraging others in the Lord? Am I living my life in line with God’s Word? Am I a good example to my friends?”
May I speak frankly for a moment? I do not believe that “broken” friendships are Biblical. Before you judge me, let me explain. A “broken” friendship is broken: it hurts, it brings pain, and it often cannot be “stitched” back together.
There are, however, times when a friend that we have is detrimental for our spiritual growth (Note: this does not include “she offended me” or other emotional issues). Such friendships are mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 3:“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15)
No, this is not talking about “broken” friendships, but “withdrawn” friendships. If you notice, though, it is not on just any terms. This is talking of a friend who is not walking with God, not encouraging us in Christ, and living according to the world. With such a case, there are several things that we can do:
1. We must talk with our parents about our concerns with this person and if they deem best then,
2. We must pray about how God would have us treat this person and ask Him to dissolve the friendship
3. If God so shows us, we must avoid their company when possible – without being rude
I have seen personal examples of how God can easily withdraw a friendship, leaving no hurt feelings or scars. However, it must be done in a Christ-like manner. This does not mean:
1. Speaking badly of a person (look at James 4:11)
2. Turning others against them (look at Proverbs 10:12)
3. Shunning them completely (look at 2 Thessalonians 3:15)
When a friendship is simply withdrawn (in a Biblical fashion), we can still love them and pray for them. We must realize that withdrawing from a friendship is meant for our protection and their growth.
The end results of broken and withdrawn friendships are significantly different. In a broken friendship, the two “used-to-be-friends” generally do not resume a friendship. In a withdrawn friendship, God can bring the friends back together years later when the “disorderly brother (or sister)” decides to live their life in accordance to God’s Word.
Who are our friends? Are they good, solid, Biblical friends? Or are they worldly, wavering, detrimental friends? Are they friends with whom we can have Godly conversations? Or are they simply friends that we laugh and joke with? Do we grow by their friendship, or are we pulled away from what we know is right?
We must also consider these in relation to who we are as a friend. God has given us such a blessing in friendships, but we must choose to use His Word as a guideline with these friendships.