I remember back in middle and high school youth groups the pastor would speak about the issues of “cliques.” He would often encourage us to get outside our comfort zone and make sure that we are not maintining a closed group of friends. Recently, I observed a shift that happens to our friendships as adults.
Unlike grade school, as adults we often have to be encouraged to work to maintain high quality friendships. Having a tight clique can be a source of strength and encouragement. It can also test our patience. There will be times in life where we need support that comes from outside our family unit. Here are three benefits to having tight – knit friendships.
- They can help sustain you in hard times. Many of you have lived this principle. God often uses friends to help us when we feel our strength faltering. Friends provide the medicine of laughter[i], the comfort of proximity, and freshness that comes from seeing a face that isn’t family.
- They provide an accurate account of your walk with the Lord. Friends can see hypocrisy. They see growth. They sense annoyance and feel your anger. The beauty of friendship is the fact that they can observe all of the bad moments and still be loyal to you. However, a good friend will not see a pattern of destructive behavior and just ignore it. If your friend is truly sharpening you, then be prepared to hear the hard truths about behavior that you may need to address with the Lord[ii].
- Friendship teaches us selflessness. It is easy to say that romantic relationships make us more like Christ and require a sacrifice. Commitment to quality friendship requires the same kind of selfless love. Being reliable, taking time to listen, sacrificing your own wants, holding your tongue, and avoiding anger and frustration are all traits that have to be mastered in order to love the people closest to you. God sanctifies us through relationships with friends.
Think of your closest friends today and thank God for their presence in your life. Commit to serving them and loving them even more than you already do.
God bless, and have a great Tuesday.
[i] Proverbs 17:22
[ii] Proverbs 27:17