Second to our command to love God with all we are is the call to love
others as ourselves. Our friendships with others are marked in particular by an essential selflessness.
God brings this holy, selfless love to fruition in us through our many relationships, including the friendships we are called to nurture with self-gift. Then, as is God’s way, that self-gift is returned back to us as God’s gift to us—to change us, grow our friendship, and beyond that, make us ever more like Him.
Jesus gathered around him a group of friends—people he picked up along his journey, who became his disciples. He showed us how deeply integral the exchange among these friends was to understanding God and self. No matter how slow to learn, no matter how tarnished by sin these friends were, merciful love kept them united with Christ through the way of the cross and beyond that, with one another.
". . . In Christ, we though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
We continually strive in faith to have a clearer picture of God. The Bible and the tenets of our faith nourish our hungry minds and hearts about the Father. So do our friendships. Coming together to support one another allows us to show the face of God to each other. Our faces, and all that we are, radiate the presence of God in the lives of others. How powerful to think of our role in all relationships in this way.
No matter where we are in our faith, fellowship through friendship can be a source of strength. Openness to sharing in life in friendships with people we admire provides real opportunities for growth. We grow and change because of the other person. It’s this transformational nature of friendship that makes it a significant part of our lives as Christians. God uses friendship not just to change us, but to make us like Him.
Friendships are where we live out what we know to be true about Christ living within us, and where what we believe turns into what we do. As Christians we are called to love our neighbors. In friendship, the call to love my neighbor becomes more than just a concept. There is give, and there is take. Staying the course with new and lasting friendships creates the holiness of camaraderie, patience, being a shoulder to lean on, and the ability to lean on others, too.
Friendship very much belongs in the realm of our faith. Coming together to support one another is an experience that allows us to learn, gain strength, and show the world a glimpse of God.