The first part of the title may sound a tad familiar just because I’ve written an article with the same title seven years ago. And with the years that had passed by, I’m finding myself in the same circumstance where I see friendships thrive and go limp altogether. Could this be a typical case scenario of what they say: “life happens” and “people come and go”, hmmm perhaps?
Call friendship mishaps inevitable as you would but there’s one thing that is very common among these unfriendly friends phenomena: these friendships were not rooted in discipleship.
Jesus was friends with his disciples and they surely had their share of ups and downs, still Judas betrayed him and Peter denied him three times! Sure there were awkward are-you-still-my-friend moments but we knew how everything turned out for everyone – Jesus had chosen to forgive them. Jesus always had the end-goal in mind: to make disciples and make sure that these friendships created through discipleship remain rooted in it.
I can only pin on two reasons why friendships turn sour: it’s either one has lost track of what discipleship really is OR the principle why we do discipleship was never understood to begin with.
You see, much like our Christian walk, friendships are not guaranteed to be storm-free but rather, storm-proof; that is, if it’s well-founded in discipleship. Discipleship necessitates a huge amount of accountability but sadly, the world’s definition of friendship has taken this out of the equation. According to everything we see, read and hear today, friendship demands being there for each other no matter what – through ups and downs, through thick and thin. And these words, coming from friends are so comforting to hear but are these taken out of God’s context or the world’s?
The bible has provided us with so many guidelines on friendships:
Better is open rebuke than a hidden love. Proverbs 27:5
The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. Proverbs 12:26
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
Friendships founded in discipleship involve a ton of accountability, hence, you can never expect your friends to agree with you or to understand where you’re coming from all the time; there will be circumstances when your accountability towards each other is put to use – the keys would be, agreeing to disagree, forgiving and moving on… and if you can’t, oops, time for a heart check!
When we lose track of discipleship, we lose the real meaning of friendship. We simply put it in box and adorn it with so many unnecessary bling without using its godly design and full potential: to bring more people to the knowledge of the ultimate example of what it is to be a friend, that’s Jesus.
Our friendships are allowed by God to bring people to Him, let’s not allow them to distract and redirect people to how the world defines “friendship”.