We know how to love because God loved us first. He is the perfect model of love and sets a beautiful example. Christian friendships are a special and exciting thing, which can grow our faith, push us towards Jesus and reflect God’s love to those who don’t know him yet.
How to have Jesus at the centre of your friendship: the practical guide
1. Encourage and build up: Think about your friend’s character and her attitude – it is important to compliment the ways in which she looks like Jesus and the gifts she has.
2. Push towards Jesus: Share exciting verses from the bible with your friend, your new worship song playlist or a testimony of how Jesus is working in your life.
3. Be real: Be honest with your friend, about worries, sin, struggles and doubts. Ask her to pray with you and ask for her advice. We can’t expect our friends to understand us when we don’t share what is going on in our lives. If your friend shares with you, don’t judge her, as that’s not your job. Love her and encourage her!
4. Be accountable: Know each other’s struggles – this might mean leaving a party early together or changing the subject if it turns into gossip.
5. Don’t compare: It is so easy to compare ourselves to others, especially our close friends. But God created us all uniquely and perfectly so there is no point making comparisons. Celebrate how you and your friend are different and use each others strengths and weaknesses to be a strong team (especially if she is good at braiding hair).
6. Be set apart: You and your friend are modelling to the world a relationship changed by Jesus. Look different. Don’t gossip or talk about each other behind backs, don’t fall out or be disloyal, stand up for what is right and love outsiders just like Jesus did. Be inclusive and generous with your time and attention.
Remember this verse when you decide how to love your friend well:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
After all, these friends really are friends forever!