Christian friendship

I have 1 Christian best friend and I think that the fact we shared the same faith it makes our bond all the more different, in a good way.  When I'm going through hard times, it comforts me knowing I can ask the her to keep me in her prayer, and I the same for her.  When we're worry about our mutual friends we remind each other to keep them on our prayer list.  When we share with each other, the goal isn't to gossip but to share our burdens and see how/what we can do to help.  We know each other's heart, we have no ill intentions toward anyone.  Our hearts are constantly being formed and transformed by our Christ Jesus.  We hold each other's accountable and having her presence in my life helps keep me in check.  Sometime her gentle remarks regarding my decisions prompted me to re-think my actions.  Even though it didn't hurt anyone, her words begged the question if my decision showed love. 

This is not to say non-believer friends aren't good friends.  They are, this I know.  But having that shared faith, we are asked to encourage, to sharpen each other, to point out the un-necessary boulders the other are carrying on our spiritual walk.  It's comforting to know that our journey with Christ isn't a lonely walk but one with supportive friends who are heading to the same destination.

I came across this article on 5 Traits of True Christian Friends.  It's a great reminder of our calling and what we should strive for !  so that through our friendship, others might come to know Christ and experience His everlasting love.

So, what does a true Christian friendship look like? Let's break it down into traits that are easy to identify.

5 traits of true Christian friendship
by Mary Fairchild

Christian Friends Love Sacrificially
John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (NIV)

Jesus is the finest example of a true Christian friend. His love for us is sacrificial, never selfish. He demonstrated it not only through his miracles of healing, but more fully through the humble service of washing the disciples' feet, and then ultimately, when he laid down his life on the cross.

If we choose our friends based only on what they have to offer, we'll rarely discover the blessings of a genuine friendship. Philippians 2:3 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." By valuing your friend's needs above your own, you'll be on your way to loving like Jesus. In the process, you'll likely gain a true friend.

Christian Friends Accept Unconditionally
Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (NIV)

We discover the best of friendships with brothers and sisters who know and accept our weaknesses and imperfections.

If we're easily offended or hold on to bitterness, we'll have a hard time making friends. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes now and then. If we take a truthful look at ourselves, we'll admit that we bear some of the blame when things go wrong in a friendship. A good friend is quick to ask forgiveness and ready to be forgiving.

Christian Friends Trust Completely
Proverbs 18:24
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (NIV)

This proverb reveals that a true Christian friend is trustworthy, indeed, but emphasizes a second important truth as well. We should only expect to share complete trust with a few loyal friends. Trusting too easily can lead to ruin, so be careful about putting your confidence in a mere companion. Over time our true Christian friends will prove their trustworthiness by sticking closer than a brother or sister.

Christian Friends Keep Healthy Boundaries
1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy ... (NIV)

If you feel smothered in a friendship, something is wrong. Likewise, if you feel used or abused, something is amiss. Recognizing what's best for someone and giving that person space are signs of a healthy relationship. We should never let a friend come between us and our spouse. A true Christian friend will wisely avoid intruding and recognize your need to maintain other relationships.

Christian Friends Give Mutual Edification
Proverbs 27:6 
Wounds from a friend can be trusted ... (NIV)

True Christian friends will build each other up emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Friends like to be together simply because it feels good. We receive strength, encouragement, and love. We talk, we cry, we listen. But at times we also have to say the difficult things our dearest friend needs to hear. Yet, because of the shared trust and acceptance, we are the one person who can impact our friend's heart, for we know how to deliver the hard message with truth and grace. I believe this is what Proverbs 27:17 means when it says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."