Christian Friendships

A Christian friendship can be one of the most beautiful blessings of
the Christian life. I have some tremendous friends who care deeply
about my life and walk with Jesus. Some of them would do almost
anything for me, and I would do anything for them as well. But
friendships can be difficult. Help your children navigate the difficult
waters of conflict, gossip, and drama. Walk them carefully through
what the scriptures say about these things as they
grow in their sanctification. Matthew 18:15-17 is a great place to
start during conflict.
Encourage your children to get to the other side of these situa‐
tions without losing their temper or their friend. Relationships are
critical, and during their formative years, your child will need to
learn how to deal with conflict resolution in friendship. Make sure
you are handling your own friendships with integrity. Don’t just be a
hearer and herald of the Word. Be a doer of the Word. Your chil‐
dren will watch your example and learn how to have friendships. By
God’s grace, I have had many Christian friends through the years
who have helped me love God more. They have challenged me
when I was in error, encouraged me when I was down, and rejoiced
with me when something went well.

The friendship of David and Jonathan in the Old Testament is a
great example of sacrificial love between friends. Jonathan is said to
have loved David as much as he loved himself. Jonathan was even
willing to give up the familial bond of the father-son relationship
with King Saul to help save his friend (1 Sam. 20). Friendships like
these last because each person cares about the other’s feelings and
needs as much as they care about their own.
Paul and Timothy are another great example of a special friend‐
ship. Paul calls Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:2 “[his] true son in the
faith.” Paul says in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfishness
or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as
more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your
own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
When
we have a deep commitment to friendship in the Church and else‐
where, we see the love of Jesus Christ.
The problem Paul dealt with in Philippi when he wrote these
words was division within the body of Christ. He called Euodia and
Syntyche to live in harmony (Phil. 4:2). Apparently, the infighting
had reached such a level in the Philippian church that Paul had to
call these women out while he was imprisoned in Rome. This is not
the mind of Christ. Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how
pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.”

If your children have friendships with other children who love
the Lord, encourage them to pray together, worship together, and
do missions together. Get together with believing families for nights
of family worship. Make sure to foster the spiritual growth of these
friendships, providing not just a way for them to hang out but a way
for them to connect over the gospel. Singing songs, reading the
Bible, or just talking about the Lord with your children and their
Christian friends encourages their relationships to grow in the Lord.

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