Many of us believe that we can go through this life by being lone rangers. By not letting people get close to us. There is wisdom in this, most definitely. Even Jesus did not entrust His heart to all people, because he knew what was truly in their hearts. (John 2:24 NIV). Relationships, specifically friendships, are the only way to be able to exercise influence over people. Relationships are also a way to show friends and other people love and care. They say that people don’t care about what you know, until they know that you care. I have seen this through ministering to various people. Also, if you want to bless someone, with anything, there needs to be a reason for that. The basis for giving or receiving is friendship. (Most of the time)
Here’s an example, you can’t just meet someone from off the side of the road and offer to take them for a coffee. They would think you are weird. (Although, funnily enough we have done this while on mission in Albania). In general, though, we can love and pour into the lives of people, without any expectations and without giving over our whole hearts to them. (If that makes sense).
Related Post: Why It’s Time to Stop Trying to Please Others
In Proverbs, it speaks of guarding your heart. This scripture has been taken out of context to allow many people, to hide from people and to try to self-protect. The word for ‘guard’ here, however, means to place value on. That is important. We should place value on our time and who we choose to meet with.
Time is precious and all people are precious to God, however, allow Holy Spirit to lead you toward the right friendships and relationships and away from the wrong ones.
Something I had to learn the hard way, is that I am not the messiah, Jesus is. He is the savior of this world, and for many of us, trying to ‘save’ people, is not what God wants us to. Don’t get me wrong, I have led people into a relationship with God (being born again) but the key word here is LED. You cannot force, coerce, manipulate, guilt-trip etc… anyone into anything. Even if it is good for them.
Psalm 34:8 NIV says, O taste and see that the Lord is good…
You cannot taste for someone else. They must look and see, “Ooh yummy, that looks good, I think I will try some”. This experience is their own personal revelation of God’s love for them, personally and uniquely. Our main goal, and I am learning this more each day, is to taste each day. Taste of the Lord’s goodness toward me, and share that experience, and describe it to the people around me. We can only take care of our relationship with God, by spending time with Jesus and getting into the word for ourselves.
I believe that the inability to make and maintain relationships is a huge problem in today’s world. People struggle to be consistent and constant or faithful to their promises. Friendship holds people more accountable for their actions and the way that they treat others.
Instant gratification type friendships and even dating relationships are the preferred norm.
The friends you can go drinking with, to numb the pain or go clubbing with to withdraw from reality. In doing this, we avoid the friends who will hold our hand and genuinely listen to and care for us. We throw out all friendship and trust, because a few selfish people distorted our view on what relationship and friendship is really like.
Granted, we cannot be friends with everyone. However, as a body of believers, we do function better within a team and are meant to love, support and encourage each other in our times of trouble.
Here are a few questions that we can ask ourselves to gauge where we are at in our relationships/friendships:
- How would you define a healthy friendship?
- What are some of the similarities you have with the friends in your friend circles?
- What are your expectations of a friend?
- How are you being a friend and blessing others?
First and foremost, seek friendship with God, and let Him lead you to people who may need some encouragement or help. He will also lead you to family who will love and support you, not be perfect, but will have your best intentions at heart.
Trust that God can lead you to trust the right people. Remember that His perfect love castes out all fear. (1 John 4:18 NIV)