The question of finding godly friendships comes up quite a bit in my inbox. Maybe you can relate with having friends that just want to have fun and hang out but nobody who is willing to enter into an “iron sharpens iron” friendship with you.
I would encourage you to make it a matter of prayer.
Friendships were important to Christ, and He is the one who initiated the idea of friendship. Although God is complete in himself and needs nothing, He chose to enter into a relationship and communicate with man. Christ had intimate friends and calls us friends.
The problem is not a shortage of women around, but the problem seems to be that there is a shortage of women of the Word.*
Elyse Fitzpatrick describes the lack of gospel centered relationships this way:
This idolotry of privacy and individualism is one of the greatest detriments to sanctification in the church today.
God has placed us in a family because we don’t grow very well on our own. It is still not good to be alone. We need the encouragement, correction, and loving involvement of others who are willing to risk everything for the sake of the beauty of his bride.
- from Because He Loves Me
Perhaps in your sphere of influence, YOU are to be the one to initiate change in your groups.
Be the type of friend YOU are looking for!
Be a friend who’ll encourage others in God’s word and ways. Open your home up for a bible study or times of fellowship with other Christian women. Be hospitable. Pray with other women about their struggles. Be that listening ear who’ll give wise counsel instead of just commiserating.
Lovingly confront sin with your close friends. Hopefully this is not often, but it is biblical. No matter how uncomfortable, be truthful when your friends are stumbling into sin. Maybe they are not aware that God, their Master, condemns/forbids such behavior/thoughts/speech. Friends don’t wink at their friends sin. Friends get each other ready to stand before the judgement seat of God. **
But most of all, speak of God. Tell what you are learning about God and listen to what they are learning. This is one of the easiest ways to enter into the right type of friendships.
A true friend:
1. speaks the truth in love, because it is ultimately for your good.
2. does not envy (because envy is the opposite of love)
3. uses wise words, not wounding words:
- no complaining or griping
- no slander or gossip
- no lying (a person who lies to you hates you. Prov. 10:18)
- no crooked speech (saying one thing, meaning another, harsh words.)
- no angry words
4. is faithful to God. She does not “sin” with you because you two are such great friends. That would be unfaithful to God and unloving to you.
As your children get older, watch what types of friends they gravitate toward. It is a good indication of where their own hearts desires.
Rebekah was telling me that several of her friends have agreed to tell each other gently if they are doing something wrong. These are wise decisions from such young girls. They are more interested in doing right and getting ready to answer to God someday, than they are about their immediate “hurt feelings” or self esteem.
I can only tell you to be the friend you want and you will attract those who want the same thing. Be proactive to initiate times of fellowship with those who are walking the same way you want to go.
Don’t give up. What can you do today to be that kind of friend to someone?
*If you are having trouble forming close friendships, you might do some soul searching. Does the problem lies with you? Are you approaching friendships in the spirit of 1 Cor. 13? Are you a loving person, or do you assume the worst about everyone, therefore making it impossible to have Biblical friendships? Are you someone who sees God as preeminent, or do you expect your friends to treat you as though you are preeminent. These sinful attitudes will hinder godly friendships. Are you transparent about your sin and seeking accountability? If not, why not? Read John 13:33-34, Romans 12:10,16, Ephesians 4:2, 32, and James 5:16. How do these verses indicate that others are involved in our spiritual growth? Are you obedient in these areas?
**By the way, your confrontation should not be like a drive by shooting. That would be an unwise confrontation on your part. The purpose of a confrontation is to make someone sound of mind again to bring them back to biblical thinking– not to destroy them. If you are just venting, your confrontation is NOT biblical. The goal is restoring, health and healing. It is better to let someone else confront them if you cannot control your tongue.