If you’re looking to form healthy Christian friendships, learn how these marks of true Christian friendship can help you build strong spiritual friendships.
I can still remember the disappointment in my 14-year-old cousin’s words: “You have really nice friends. Mine are crummy.” Right then, as a young teen, I realized two essentials about friendship. First, a good friend is a treasured blessing. And second, friendship doesn’t just happen; we have to cultivate it.
In a world dominated by likes and followers, real friendship is such a gift. Girlfriends we can do life with, who get us and see parts of our heart and soul no one else does, make life sweet.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .’” C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
True friendship moves us past small talk and surface answers and into soul nourishment. We get past the veneer and can share side-splitting laughs as much as we share hopes and struggles.
So much in our world works against forming healthy christian friendships – our crazy busy schedules, cross country moves and subbing online interaction for in real life friendship.
But God did not create us to do life alone. He put us in community. Spiritual good friends won’t just happen. First, we have to BE the kind of friend we want to have.
Then, we need to ask – What does God say about friendship?
10 Marks of True Spiritual Friendship
- A real friend shares the same truth. Godly girlfriends have more in common than same-aged kids or similar hobbies. Friendship will go deepest when friends share the same beliefs and want the same things out of life. 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.”
- A real friend goes the distance. A real friend will walk with us through the hard. They will not only laugh with us in the sunshine but stand with us in the rain. Or offer an umbrella. And walking through the hard won’t kill the friendship; it will deepen it. Proverbs 17:17 “A friend is made for adversity.”
- A real friend listens well and counsels well. Sometimes, we just need someone to hear us. How many times have you worked something out just by talking it out? Real friends get that. But there are also times we need solid godly counsel. Real friends can be counted on to listen well and counsel well. Proverbs 27:9 “The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.”
- A real friend keeps confidences. This is so important. We need to know we’re safe. That when we vulnerably share our struggles and our mess-ups, they won’t be used against us. Proverbs 16:28 “…a gossip separates close friends.”
- A real friend picks right up where she left off 6 months ago. Isn’t it crazy how months can pass before we’re able to pick up the phone and call that cherished friend or meet for that longed-for coffee? True soul friends can push pause after every conversation and pick right back up the next time they’re together. Proverbs 18:24 “…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
- A real friend can say hard things. A few years ago, a dear friend was making some bad choices with bad consequences. Only a true friend will risk saying what needs to be said. Deep friendship can buffer hard truth. Proverbs 27:6 “wounds from a friend can be trusted.”
- A real friend knows being there is enough. We can’t always fix things, but we can be there. We can listen, we can love and we can pray. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one. . .if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
- A real friend celebrates rather than compares. She is genuinely happy for your blessings. Rather than sink into envy, she will encourage and share your delight in God’s goodness. Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice.”
- A real friend forgives. Expectations can wipe out a friendship. Even in a good friendship, we can forget to call back or fail to realize a friend’s need. True Christian friends need to be quick to apologize and quick to forgive. Proverbs 17:9 “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats a matter separates close friends.”
- A real friend makes you a better person each time you’re together. It’s true. Godly girlfriends make you a better mom, wife, Christ follower. Their conversation is refreshing and time spent together is a filling of the soul. Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
Praise God He’s given us friends to do life with – to laugh and cry and struggle and rejoice and pray together. What about you? What would you add to this list of true Christian friendship?
Lisa Appelo is a single mom of 7 and unexpected widow, crazy in love with Christ. She writes about God’s faithfulness in the hard and in everyday goodness. You can connect with her at www.TrueandFaithful.net and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/trueandfaithful/