I’ve believed a lot of lies about friendship.
Maybe you have, too.
The lie we believe about friendships? Friendships are supposed to be easy.
We’ve bought into this lie that says if it isn’t easy, it isn’t right and it’s time for us to move on. But the danger in this is that we end up with shallow friendships instead of committed and enduring ones.
It is pretty convenient to be friends with people that you have a lot in common with, but like Jesus we need to look beyond our interests.
The Truth about Friendship
The truth is that we need one another. From the beginning, we were created to be in relationship with God and with others. This fact permeates Scripture.
Can I give you some of my favorite verses to put into your truth toolbox? This isn’t just a comprehensive list of Scripture that shows God’s intention for us to be in relationships, but it should also give you a hint at how important friendship is to God and how important it should be to us.
Proverbs 27:17 NIV:“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another…”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV:“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor; If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up!”
John 15:12 NIV:“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
1 John 1:7 NIV:“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another…”
Galatians 6:2 NIV:“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…”
1 Thessalonians 5:11:“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…”
What Lies Hold Us Back from Friendship?
God’s word has a lot to say about friendship. This should matter to us because it obviously matters to God. Deep in our souls God created us to be communal beings who long for togetherness with one another and with Him. When we enter into this community, God’s love shows through us, we become better Christ-followers and better people, and we live out the gospel message in a very practical way.
Yet, often, the lies we’ve come to believe keep us from investing in friendship. We know we need one another, and we want to be in community, but we hold back. Let’s take some time, right now, to acknowledge the lies we’ve believed so that the next time we encounter them, we can identify them as lies, and act on what we know to be true. Calling out the lies lessens their power over us. It also allows us to speak truth, like the verses above, over the lie.
See if any of these lies sound familiar. It could be that you’re letting these falsehoods keep you from the friendships that God intends for you.
10 Lies We Believe About Friendship.
1. I’m better off alone.
Absolutely untrue. We aren’t better off alone. Those few verses listed above remind us of that fact, as do the countless others throughout Scripture, that we are better together. We learn to be grace filled, merciful, loving, patient, kind, generous, selfless, and others-focused through our relationships with other people. We become better people and better Christians when we are in community together.
2. I don’t need a friend.
That’s an outright lie. We all need someone to pray with and for us, to encourage us, to hold us accountable, to support us, to help us grow, and to challenge us. As beings created for community with God and community with others, we struggle when we try to do life alone.
3. Friendships aren’t worth the emotional investment.
False. We do have to put forth the effort to get to know and to care for another human being. We choose to enter into their lives and share in their happiness as well as their hardships. We commit to walking together through good times and bad. It is an emotional investment—however, the return on our investment is that we also have someone willing to be by our side, come what may. Friendship means that we don’t have to face life alone.
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4. I don’t have time for friends.
Nope. We make time for what matters. Friendships matter. They don’t have to take a huge time commitment, but we do give our time and attention to things that are important to us. Setting aside time for a phone call, text, email, or even a coffee date won’t derail everything else in your life. Giving little pieces of your time here and there to invest in friendship is something we can all afford to do.
5. I don’t know how to make friends.
Wrong—and if you believe this, you aren’t giving yourself enough credit. Take a lesson from the elementary school version of yourself. If you want a friend, be a friend. Step outside of your comfort zone and ask your new friend to “play.” Tell that lady in your Sunday school class or that girl from the gym that you’d love to get to know them better. Invite them out for coffee or lunch. Kids do this all the time. Be brave and put yourself out there. Chances are, your new friend is going to be excited to be invited.
6. Friends need to be in similar life stages.
Not accurate. Although it is nice to have people in your life who “get it” because they are in the same phase of life as you, there is a great benefit to having friends who aren’t in the same stage of life. Friends who are older than you can often act as a mentor. They have the experience to provide valuable insight because they have already walked the road you are on. Friends who are younger crave the wisdom that you’ve gained through your life experiences. We each have experiences that are valuable to one another.
7. My friends should look, think, and act like me.
Not even close. There is so much beauty in friendships that stretch us to consider new perspectives and bring diversity into our lives. If your friend circle consists only of people who look, think, and act like you then you are missing out on so much.
8. I should choose my friends based on how beneficial they are for me.
I hate to even include this one, but there are many people who look at friendship as a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” kind of arrangement. That isn’t what friendship is about. Friendships are mutually beneficial, but not because they allow us to climb the social ladder. The benefit is knowing that the two of you will help each other grow, will be there for one another, will support one another, and will journey down life’s road together.
9. Friendship lasts a lifetime.
Sometimes, but not always. Some friendships do last a lifetime, but many friendships are just for a season. It is normal and healthy for friendships to ebb and flow. Situations in life may draw you closer or separate you. That is ok. We can’t force our friendships to look a certain way.
10. Friendships are easy.
Not exactly. Making friends, being a friend, and maintaining friendships can be challenging. Our lives are full and busy. Putting forth the time, effort, and commitment to really engage and connect with a friend isn’t always our top priority. Life can get in the way. However, we know that most good things take effort. The same is true with friendships. They aren’t easy, but they are worth it.
11. Bonus: If people know the real me, they may not want to be my friend.
This is one of the most common lies I’ve heard regarding friendships among believers. If I were being totally honest, I’d have to say that I have fallen prey to this lie a time or two. We often worry that if we are vulnerable, authentic, and we let people into our lives, they may see that we aren’t perfect. Our messiness may show. They might realize we don’t have everything figured out and that our life isn’t as shiny as they may have thought.
I saved this lie for the “bonus” because I personally believe that it is the one that most often keeps women from really reaping the benefits of deep friendship.
We can come to believe that it’s safer to keep people at arm’s length than to actually be their friend. Dear reader, this is a bold-faced lie. The risk is almost always worth the reward.
You’re right in thinking that your friend will probably see that you are a tad messy and that you aren’t perfect. Here is where you may be wrong, though. When your friend sees the real you, instead of looking down on you, she will probably be relieved that she can let her guard down, too.
Instead of turning away, as you may have thought she would, your friend is likely to open up to building a relationship with someone who chooses to be vulnerable, authentic, and genuine.
Step into the Friendship God Has Planned for You
Regardless of the lie(s) you may have believed about friendship, my prayer is that by identifying the untruths that have influenced you, they lose their power over you. We know that God created us for relationship with Him and with others. We see that we are better together. We trust that by calling out the lies, we can begin the process of casting them off and accepting the challenge to bravely overcome our fears and insecurities by willingly stepping into community and friendship, as God calls us to do.
Can I pray for you?
Unshackle this reader from the lies he/she has believed about friendship. Open their heart to the truth that you created us for community. Help them to bravely commit to building and maintaining rich friendships.
God, I pray that you send people into their life to fill this role. Provide him/her with friends to journey with them, to encourage them, to build them up, to hold them accountable, to grow and challenge them, and to draw them closer to You. Help them to be a good friend in return.
God, we know this is your will and we ask it in the name of Jesus.
Be a friend worth having. A friend that goes the distance. A friend that shows up even when it would it be easier not to. Someone who doesn’t look for a way out of helping, but looks for ways to help and show love. Don’t evaluate people based on how easy it is to be their friend. Lead with love, because that’s what was done for us.
A group of friends that support each other in the name of Jesus might be the very best gift on the face of the earth!
“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”
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