In the simplest terms, friendship is an association between two or more people with mutual love and understanding for each other. Different from a romantic relationship, friendship is actually set on a different spectrum and is one of the most complex mysteries of human nature.
Friendship can be defined in many ways and can vary in terms of degrees or levels. It may be intense or downright shallow, but one thing is certain—it is a kind of relationship that is one of God’s most beautiful gifts to humanity.
Let’s dig deeper into the purpose of friendship. Here are three points from the Scriptures on the topic.
1. What friends do
We all know what good friends do. They are with you through the joys and through the trials. They are there to console you, to laugh with you, and even help you emotionally, physically, or spiritually.
In the Scriptures, one of the best examples of friendship is found among the disciples of Jesus. Jesus called His disciples His friends (John 15:14). They accompanied Jesus wherever He went and they were there to assist Him in all his ministry. They loved Him and He loved them back.
While Jesus was their Lord, he still treated them with respect and impartiality. These are the values that every friendship should have: treating each other as equals, offering what you can to help, and constantly lifting each other up through anything that comes to each other’s way. This was all seen in Jesus’ friendship with Martha, Mary of Magdala, and Lazarus.
2. Caution in friendship
There are forms of unhealthy friendship, however. We may have connections with other people that can be toxic and may lead us to sin. In the Scriptures, there are stories of friendship that only corrupted people. A good example is when Israelite families and friends encouraged each other to worship other gods.
This is why the Scriptures repeatedly remind us that bad company ruins good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33), to not walk in the counsel of the ungodly (Psalm 1:1), and to choose wisely the people we will treat as friends (Proverbs 12:26).
3. Friendship should be more
If you have not yet caught who Jesus was addressing in John 15:14 as his friends, it was not only the disciples but all of us who are his followers. The verse says that if you follow Jesus, He becomes your friend.
Following Jesus and having Him as your friend opens you up to a new group of people to befriend. Friendship should be more than eating out, watching movies together, or looking back at funny stories. Friendship should be tied to what God is calling people to do – to reach out to others and be an example of Jesus. To do this, you will need to be a good friend with God first, and to the people around you second.
While God is the Highest, do know that He is your friend. A lot of people are afraid to associate themselves with the Lord, thinking that they are unworthy or are unsuitable for a host of other reasons. But that is not God’s requirement. He is the most loving friend you can ever have. In fact, He gave His Son’s life for you so that you may have true and everlasting life.
Discover the vibrant community of Union Church of Manila, a Christian church in Makati. Join the Sunday worship services: 8:30 AM (Contemporary); 10:30 AM (Traditional); 12:30 PM (Contemporary with Communion).