Unhealthy Friendship says:

I will always cover for you. You don’t have to take responsibility for what you’ve done. 

Healthy Friendship says:

I love you, want the best for you and am happy for you when you share sweet times of friendship with other people.

Unhealthy Friendship says:

I am your only friend. You can’t have any other friends beside me - and everyone needs to know that I am your only friend.

Healthy Friendship says:

It’s fun when we like the same things! What joy to share life with you!

Unhealthy Friendship says:

You have to like what I like. (Or I have to like what you like.) We can’t have individuality. We have to only like the same things.

Unhealthy friendships aren’t built on the basis of trust, respect or Biblical love. They serve the purpose of self. Real friendships will help you grow (Proverbs 27:17), spur you on to love God and His people more (Hebrews 10:24) and they will portray sacrifice (John 15:12).

Secondly, Jesus is the only friend we will ever have who won’t disappoint us, won’t entangle us in some unhealthiness and who will consistently love us. 

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you”  (John 15:12-16 NAS).

What an amazing thought to be God’s friend - almost sounds scandalous, doesn’t it? Yet we easily let the value of this friendship slip from our thoughts as we yearn for a friend to sip coffee with, or scrapbook with into the wee hours of the night or for a knowing, understanding, audible voice on the other side of the telephone. Jesus gave His life for us and offers us His friendship. Let’s not miss out on the best friendship of our lifetimes!

It’s normal to want and need community. We were wired that way. Yet it is perhaps just as normal to experience times when we feel the emptiness of true friendship in our lives. I know I’ve gone through seasons of loneliness because God wanted me to just focus on our relationship. Jesus promises to never leave us (Hebrews 13:5); to accept us freely (Romans 15:7); He takes particular interest in the smallest facets of our life - like the hair on our head and the number of tears we’ve cried (Matthew 10:30Psalms 56:8  and thinks about us constantly (Psalms 139:18). He’s a good friend. The best friend. And He is worth cultivating a deep relationship with!

If you are in a season of loneliness, take heart. Perhaps God just wants you a little more to Himself (for your good). Perhaps He knows what lies ahead and that you need deeper roots. Perhaps He’s protecting you from the unhealthiness of a relationship, even though you are still pining for it. Lean into your best and truest Friend. And in the meantime, I’ll be praying the Lord provides a dear friend for your journey very soon!

April Motl is a pastor’s wife who serves along side her husband, Eric, at their church in Southern California. For more information about their ministry visit www.MotlMinistries.com. You can also follow their ministry on facebooktwitter and April’s crosswalk blog.

Publication date: November 1, 2012