Friends Why it's not the Church's responsibility to be your friend

Some people walk into a room and immediately and effortlessly connect with everyone there. Can I be honest, sometimes I hate those people. They have friends wherever they go and never stop making new ones. For the rest of us, it isn’t so easy. We struggle to make deep connections. Perhaps hunting for friends, hoping to find someone that that just clicks. It is like we are waiting to fall into friendship.

The people we surround ourselves with matter. We all want to be loved and to love others. Often people come to church looking for friendships and leave frustrated, because they didn’t find ‘the one.’ There was no-one their age or colour or class or personality type or with their sense of humour or dress sense. However, I have come to realise that it is not the job of the church to find friends for you. It is our job to help you to be a friend. If you find a friend then you can lose a friend. However, if you can be a friend then that is a skill that you will take with you wherever you go. You will never need to be alone.

Galatians 6:7 says, “do not mock the justice of God. You always harvest what you plant.” If you sow negativity you will reap negativity. Why? because of Karma? No! Because you have infected those around you with your negativity so don’t be surprised when you now live in a world of negativity. On the other hand, if you sow encouragement then when you need a positive word there will be a harvest of encouragement waiting for you. Sow friendship and you will always have friends. Its simple, give away what you want to receive.

So, if you need love today, start by loving others.
If you need provision, start sowing into others.
Help others find freedom and they will help you find yours.
If you need hope, become a support for someone else.

Be the blessing that you want to receive.

Rather than trying to find friends, I am  learning to become one. Here are 9 things that I want to sow and reap from the friendships around me.

1. Positivity. Words are powerful and I want people to encourage and build me up. So I am committing to not just thinking positively about people but to speak those words out loud. I know we are British but I don’t want to make jokes at another’s expense. It tears apart trust and creates defensiveness. I choose to speak life and words of honour.

2. Interested. I don’t want to be surrounded by people who only think about themselves and so I want to make sure that I am interested in their lives too. What matters to them, what they care about, what they love. Its not all about me.

3. Family. I want to be a hugger, someone who presumes that we are going to be friends and treats you like it. I want friends who walk straight into my house (no need to knock) and help themselves to my food. Not taking advantage, but treating people like family.

4. Prayer. How often does someone ask for prayer and you say you are praying for them but actually you aren’t? You empathise, you feel sorry but you never pause to pray. I want to make prayer my automatic response to whenever a friend tells me about any struggles, whether they ask for prayer or not. I want to create an atmosphere of spiritual breakthrough that pervades every relationship I create.

5. Honesty. We all have blind spots and I want people who will be brave and kind enough to point out when I am acting a fool or heading in a dangerous direction. So, I want to lovingly and humbly confront people and walk with them to the place of freedom and recovery even if that road is long and painful.

6. Yes man. I want to be a yes man. If you need something and I can provide it. Whether that is time, resources, skills. Provided it doesn’t hurt my family, the answer is yes. I want to be there for you because I know that there may be a time that I need you to be here for me. But even if there isn’t, I know that God was there for me when I needed Him the most and everything good in my life is a gift from him, so I am happy to share.

7. Patience. I want to make friends with difficult people who will stretch my patience because I know that people have been that for me when I have been at my worst. I won’t choose to love people who deserve it but because I was undeserving of love and God loved me regardless, I want to be the kind of friend that loves you however hard you make it.

8. Fun. I want to be committed to being a bringer of fun. Spontaneous. Planned. Accidental. I want to be the kind of friend who laughs out loud with you. If our relationship is a little bit dull then I want to take the responsibility to bring the belly laughs.

9. Friend creator. Have you ever found yourself marginalised? Maybe you are in a room where everyone else knows each other and you feel left out. It is an awful feeling being in a crowd and feeling totally alone. I want to be the one who looks out for the one who is left out and makes them feel included. Pulling them into the conversation, introducing them to others, listening to their stories. I want to be the friend that I have so often needed.

10. Faithful. I don’t want to be a flakey friend but a faithful friend. I want to turn up when I say that I will. I want to be committed even when I don’t feel like it. I want to prioritise people over things. I want to show up and be present. 

Those are what I am trying to grow, the friends that I would like to have. What’s on your list? What have I missed? Put it into the comments below.

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