Build great friendships
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2001 2 Jul
Since God has designed us to relate to others, everyone needs friends to share their lives. The best kinds of friendships are those that are close and lasting. Those intimate friendships require significant investments of time and energy, but it's definitely worth it to develop them.
Here are some ways you can establish and maintain good friendships:
- Make time for people. Be available to them during all seasons of their lives, helping them get through suffering and celebrating with them during good times. Be willing to cry or laugh with them, and to openly share your thoughts and feelings with them as they share theirs with you.
- Help people become the people God wants them to be. Encourage them; help them discover their gifts and how to use them to influence the world in ways God intends. Pray for them and give them godly advice when they ask for it. Rejoice in their successes and help them learn and rebound from failures without judging them.
- Have courage when you see a need to confront friends about choices they're making that are interfering with their relationships to God. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you discernment about how you should handle specific situations, so you can hold your friends accountable. Always love your friends unconditionally, but never compromise truth.
- Trust your friends enough to be vulnerable with them, and stick with them if they experience rejection from others. If your friends are going through trials that make you uncomfortable (such as experiencing a serious illness that scares you), don't shy away from them. Instead, pray for the strength to support them in whatever ways your friends tell you they need help.
- Lavish as much love as you can on your friends. Let humility and generosity motivate you, rather than obligation or a desire to look good.
- Don't be jealous of others with whom your friends maintain friendships. Encourage your friends to spread their love around to multiply their positive influence on others.
Adapted from Six Keys to Lasting Friendships, copyright 2000 by Carol Kent and Karen Lee-Thorp. Published by NavPress, Colorado Springs, Colo., www.navpress.com, 1-800-366-7788.
Carol Kent is a writer, speaker, and president of the Christian speakers' bureau Speak Up Services. Karen Lee-Thorp is the senior editor of Bible studies and small group resources at NavPress.