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Where is Christ in Christian Friendship?

When I think of friendship I think of laughter. I think of doing fun things, making great memories and having an overall good time. 

In all these fun times and great memories, in all the crude jokes and “R” movies watched together, where is God? Where is the Christ who we are to model our lives after? I struggle to see him. In these so called “Christian” friendships, we are allowing ourselves to keep our faith separate. On one side, we keep our put-together, church-going, worship music-loving selves in line while the other sinning, imperfect, obnoxious, inappropriate half comes to the surface the remainder of the time. Don’t we even separate our friends that way? Is there a time and place for that Bible study, looking through the Word of God, and a very distinct and separate time for the guys and gals on the intramural basketball team that’s all about earning another win?

As fellow believers, we are called to spur each other on in pursuing Christ, sharpening each other like iron (Proverbs 27:17). Not only are we to support each other, but we are also told to call each other out in our sin with love and forgiveness (Luke 17:3). I think today we are lacking that tough love in our friendships, Christian and otherwise. Of course we are bound to struggle. In our media crazed society, sexual and violent images flashing at us constantly, we need to be better at supporting each other in saying no. It never ceases to amaze me that “Christian” friendships can lead to so much destruction. Christian brothers and sisters are engaging in community that is not glorifying to God in any way. Proverbs 18:24 (NLT) says “There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” Where are the brothers and sisters who encourage each other in a Godly way? What should Christian friendship truly look like?

The life that Christ led on earth shows us the friendship we are to have with one another. John writes Jesus’ words here: “I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And here is how to measure it – the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends” (15:12-13, NLT). And again, in verse 17: “I command you to love each other.” 

This very clear. We are to love each other, just as Christ loved us. Do you think Jesus would sit around while his friends made poor decisions, and throw away everything he died for, just to have some good ole’ fun? Jesus loved his disciples and he called them out on their wrongs, their baggage. He did that, and he continued to love them regardless. 

We have a divine God who has planned every aspects of our lives, including the people we have come to be close with. C.S. Lewis said, “for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A Secret Master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, ‘ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you for one another.’ The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. Is it the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of other.” There is where we need to put Christ in our friendships.

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