November 27, 2009

Friendship Fridays: The Difference

 As I look at friendships from my past but also from a current crop of students that I work with right now, it is clear that there is a definite difference between people in our lives that are just friends and those that are Christian friends. We are a little more reserved and calculated with each one in different ways, and that depends on how you see your mission with each group. But that's for later. As I launch into this series I want to hash out some of the ways that these two groups differ.

These are people that you hang out with at school, at the concerts or the football game. You don't talk about "Christian things" because that might offend them. You don't know where they are at because you've always been afraid to pursue that with these people because they might "shun" you or stop hanging out with you. But you're ok with that because it's not like they are your closest friends. I mean you guys hang out and stuff, but it's not like they are your accountability partner or something important like that. These are the people that you think of when you are challenged at youth group to think of your non-Christian or struggling friends.

Christian Friends-
These are the people that you hang out with at school, at the concerts or the football game. Just not as much maybe. Perhaps you hang with them every once in a while. Probably less than your other friends. But these people are more important in your life. They are with you at Youth Group and they probably are pretty close to what an Accountability relationship would look like. You both have some common ground and you feel close to that person. You share more deeper things with this person and you allow them to speak truth into your lives. This relationship probably formed out of your involvement at your church or some type of "group" that you both went to at some point.

As I describe these two different groups, you have probably already started putting people in these two groups. Or, you got mad at me for making two different delineations on who it is that you hang out with and you don't want to hear me elaborate on why I think that these are both less than adequate for a Christian to be pursuing. See, I think that there is a third type of friendship that brings both individuals closer to Christ.

Christ-focused Friends
These friends are closer than either of the other two types of friends. While hanging out with your "Friends" is fun a lot of the time and you usually have a good time, you are usually left wanting something more and desiring something else from that friendship. Furthermore, you and your "Christian Friends" still aren't quite as close as you want to be and it always seems to be a roller coaster with that person because you are only willing to go so deep with that person, or you are only willing to push each other to a certain level. The Christ-focused friendship pushes each other in times when no one else will push you; supports you when no one else will; gives you encouragement when they just sense that you need to hear it. This friendship lasts longer than the other two and it gives you more value than the other two. The reason for all of this is because it is built on a different foundation and it has a different level of involvement by both individuals. And I think it is reasonable to think that this can be attainable by any friendship that you may have.

Practical Step of the Week:
Take a moment and reflect on the friendships that you have or the friendships that you have had and thank God for what those have done to help mold you into the person that you are today. As we take time to give thanks for all the other things, take some time and be thankful for those friendships that are in your family.

Coming Up Next...
In the next installment, we will come to a better understanding of what a Christ-focused friendship is and why it is more valuable and worth more than the other friendships...

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