Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Friends Forever?

Having friends is a natural human instinct. Bonding and communicating is something we learn very early on in life and is something we keep with us forever.
As girls, having friends is as important as family members! And we use our girlfriends for all sorts of things; from gossiping about boys, to confiding in her about dark secrets, to 4 hour shopping sprees on one high street!

Let’s face it; as girls, we need our girlfriends! But have we ever stopped to think about whether our friends have our best interest at hearts? As young women, we have so many issues that we are faced with daily and it feels comforting to know that we have people to share it with. But as CHRISTIAN young women, we need to make sure those friends are the right ones. As Proverbs 20:6 says, a reliable friend is hard to find. “Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?”

A reliable friend is not one who agrees with every word but one can point out to you when you’re in the wrong and encourage you when you’re doing good. Even if we don’t realise it, the people who we socialize with have a great impact on us and our character and persona. They shape and sharpen us and walking with true friends makes our life here on earth worthwhile.

I have best friends that I know will give me advice that’s best for me and not what i want to hear. Proverbs 12:26 says Godly friends give good advice, so I know that because she has the fear of God in her; she will point me in the right direction. Sincere friends, speak the truth in love, even when it hurts. Like Proverbs 27:5 says, “Wounds from a sincere friends are better than kisses from an enemy”. I'd rather have my best friend tell me off for something bad I've done then have my enemy congratulate me for it!

Be sure not to hate or despise your friend when they give you some “home truths”, but be quick to be thankful for their lives. Be thankful that you have friends that you can truly rely on.
The book of Proverbs is such an inspirational book which has encouraging messages and directions on how to recognise real friends from fake friends and how to keep friends. If you haven’t got a bible, there’s a link at the bottom of the page where you can order one from (New International Version is great).

It’s one thing to make friends but it’s another thing to keep them! Don’t take your girlfriends for granted, appreciate them and value them. The people closest to you have had the most impact on you, I know for fact that I wouldn’t be the young woman I am today without the help of my best friends. A friend loves at all times; be sure that you love your friend at all times and not when it’s your birthday and she’s bought you those Kurt Geiger heels! Love her even when she says she has no money and buys you a box of sure to love at all times!

I once met a girl who said “I love my best friend, but I just hate it when I have to keep carrying her baggage for her”. Of course, you can’t bear your friends burdens for them but friendship is all about sacrifice. Loyal friends love through difficult times. Let them know you’re there for them and pray for them. The love you have for them alone should make you want to see them through the tough times.
Trust, loyalty and burden sharing are all important essentials in ensuring that you have the right friend by your side.
Good friends will make you a stronger Christian. Proverbs 27:17 says as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

However, not all ‘friends’ are true friends. Some people that we may well laugh and joke with are the same people who may have jealousy towards us or who may be harbouring negative feelings in their hearts. Or alternatively, you may have friends who indulge in negative gossiping or immoral acts and you feel somewhat obliged to them. The bible says avoid godless chatter because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. (2 Timothy 2:16)

Of course our conversations can get diverted to the latest episode of Eastenders or the hot new dress you bought last week, but we can differentiate that from UNGODLY that goes against God and his principles.

A “friend” who does not love is not a friend because anyone who does not love, does not know God because God is love. It’s impossible for you to know God and your best friend not; you need to be on the same page. How can two people walk together if they are not agreed? (Amos 3:3)

Similarly, gossip can separate best friends. The book of proverbs has a long list of the dangers of gossip and the potential hurt that results from it. A gossip betrays confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. Many friendships have been ruined over a misunderstanding that started through mere gossip. People who engage in gossip do nothing but hurt people and stir trouble. These are “friends” that you need to keep away from. One of the most major tests of friendship, is how you handle disagreement.
Matthew 5:30 says “If your right arm causes you to sin then cut it off, for it is better that you lose one of your members that your whole body go into hell.” It is better for you to end a friendship with an un-loyal person than to keep them as a friend and lose your path with your God.

Don’t be fooled by “friends” who pretend to be righteous. If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. (James 1:26)

Ask God to open your spiritual eyes and ears so that you may recognise a false friend from far.
Comparing yourself to your friends is pointless; God is a god of indiviual relationships. Something you might be doing, might not be suitable for your friend and vice versa. As young women, we usually see something we like on our friends and we copy-just make sure you copy qualities that will bring you to Christ, not take you away from him.

Lastly, there’s something that God put upon my heart which wasn’t planned but I think there are people who need to read this. In order to have a sincere, loving friendship, we must learn to forgive. In Colossians 3:13 it says “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

We forgive by faith, not out of obedience. Since forgiveness is against our nature, we must forgive by faith, whether we like it or not. We must trust God to do the work in us that needs to be done so that the forgiveness will be complete. Let go of any bitter feelings that you are harbouring and let God come into your heart.

This post was inspiried by my pastor, Pastor Steve, head of City Gates Church in Ilford, who gave a 4 week teaching on the importance of friendship. Our friendship with with another is a reflection of your friendship with Christ. "Because Jesus is loyal to me, I am going to be loyal to my friends". That was my favourite quote because it summed up in a sentence how much we should love and treat our friends.

I'd just like to say a BIG thankyou to all my girls, because I wouldn't be able to write this without them. Geraldine, Mary, Anne, Funmi, Gertrude, Debby, Renee. I love you all loads :D.
And of course each and every one of my friends, you all mean the world to me.