In the church today many conversations around navigating friendships have been and are still being had. It has also become common rhetoric to instantly cut off friends who do you wrong. The scriptures detail many examples of friendship, such as David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi and Elijah and Elisha. These are all great examples with lessons we can take about friendship. But what does it look like to be a friend like Jesus? We have ultimately been called to be like Christ, and throughout his 33 years of living, Jesus handed us the blueprint to follow. So, what can we learn from his life of perfection?
Jesus displayed sacrificial love. In John 15, Jesus really focuses on the idea of love and its importance. In verse 9, Jesus states that “as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love”. We have been called to love like the Father and like Jesus. We have been called to operate from a place of love. Love should underpin our decisions and actions. A love so great that Jesus says in verses 12 and 13,
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater Love has no one that this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.John 15:12-13
We are called to sacrificially love one another. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you are expected to die for your friend. This means that we should put our friends first when making decisions. Ensure that the love Jesus has for us is reflected in your relationships with your friends. A love that can be characterized as sacrificial shows no hesitation. It knows no bounds. It is a love that is unconditional. This is why in John 13:14 Jesus insisted on washing the feet of his disciples and commanded that they should also wash one another’s feet.
A Friend who Encourages
Jesus was an encourager. He uplifts the lowly. He provides hope when there is no way. When Jesus inhabited the earth, on many occasions he offered encouragement to his disciples. In Matthew 10, when sending out his disciples he repeatedly instructed them to ‘not be afraid’. In verses 26, 28, and 31, Jesus repeats the phrase “Do not be afraid”. Jesus’ example of encouragement can be applied to our friendships.
We are called to be in communion and support one another, with encouragement being a form of support. Life is full of trials and tribulations, and alongside confiding in the Lord, your friends can play an important role in upliftment.
iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens anotherProverbs 27:17
Proverbs 27:17 states, “iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Jesus’ words of encouragement gave the disciples boldness. In a similar way, receiving encouragement helps facilitate the removal of fears we may face. These fears may be hindering us from fulfilling our destiny. A friend who fails to encourage can be very dangerous. Therefore, encourage like Jesus did.
We can learn many lessons about friendship from Jesus. Jesus displayed a sacrificial love and was an encourager among many other things. It is important to take these lessons into our friendships and be like Christ.