What do you look for in a friend?
What kind of friend do you want to be?
What does authentic friendship mean to you?
To me, authentic friendship means sharing agape love.
Authentic Friendship Is Based on God’s Agape Love
I used to try to develop characteristics that sparkled in the world’s eyes.
Popularity, perfection, position—worldly strength.
These qualities and the friendships that evolved from them gave me false security. I felt important, and I wrongly believed I could gain the worldly strength I saw inside these friends. I also accepted the lie that if I were perfect and popular, if I pleased others and had the “right” friends and a position inside my church, I could gain authentic friendship. And I cycled in and out of co-dependent friendships. I was rescuing each friend. I felt safe from rejection because I was needed. UGH!
Can you relate?
But God in his grace sent the winds of adversity my way. A storm of hurricane proportion swept into my life and washed away those lies to write on my heart what matters in friendship. God unearthed special friends who loved me despite my imperfections and pointed me to his perfection. That storm also washed away friends who were not so genuine—something for which I will always be thankful.
True friendship has the strength to endure storms because it loves even when life is not so lovely.
Authentic friendship is based on God’s agape love toward us. God looks at the heart and so should we. Agape love speaks truth, encourages, endures, and most of all sees us through the lens of the gospel.
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34–35 NLT, emphasis mine)
True Friends See Your Perfect Imperfection
One summer after a storm at the beach my son found a piece of red sea glass. Any piece of sea glass is a treasure, but red sea glass is the rarest gem of all. Storms often unearth such treasures and cast them to the shore.
Similarly, friends who love you despite your imperfections are treasures and often surface during the storms of life.
They are the ones who see you as beautiful sea glass instead of discarded shards of broken glass because they look at you through the lens of the gospel. They have received his grace, so they can share it with others—including you.
Like Jesus, they don’t see problems—they see this potential: Jesus takes the broken things in our lives and makes them beautiful.
When looking for friendship, seek not what sparkles in the world’s eyes but what matters in the eyes of your Savior. Like the rarity of red sea glass, deep authentic friendship will be rare in your life but very possible to find!
We find authentic friendship as we first become that friend ourselves by following the example of Christ’s friendship toward us. Healthy biblical friendship doesn’t just happen. It is something we must pursue and practice by taking proactive steps according to God’s principles. More on this in our Facebook Live this week.
How have you experienced grace from others during storms in your life?
Consider ways you can reach out to others and be an authentic friend. Today choose to be that friend by looking at others through the lens of Christ’s love.
Whom will you reach out to today?
Nourish Scripture: Matthew 7:7-12
Blog written by Aliene Thompson. Aliene Thompson is the founder of Treasured Ministries and the Author of the Nourish Bible Study Series. © 2019 Treasured Ministries.