Britain is the 3rd loneliest country in Europe according to the Office for National Statistics. Some five million people have no close friends. The Trinity – God who is one God in 3 persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the perfect model for relationships.
We were made with a need for friends and the desire to enjoy warm, healthy and lasting friendships with others. The fundamental issue that hinders friendships is of course the sin that separates from God and from each other. The Gospel wonderfully reconciles us to God and one another. We have seen how Jesus beautifully models friendship. He is a friend of sinners, continually eating with tax collectors and sinners. He is the one who says of His disciples, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends.” John 15:15.
Friendship was a glorious hallmark of the early church, who were devoted to fellowship. Jesus’ promise “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35) was so thoroughly obvious to the Jewish historian Josephus, that he wrote “See how these Christians love one another.”
So clearly we are called to be friends with our brothers and sisters in the church and those who are not yet part of the family.
There are levels of friendship. Jesus was friendly to the crowd, knew the 72 better, had 12 close followers, 3 inner circle and John his closest friend. We function best when we have levels of friendship like that – intimate friend(s), close friends and acquaintances.
Pray: Ask the Lord for help to cultivate good relationships with believers and non-believers.
Recommended extra reading
Friends, Food and the Gospel (Andy Moyle)
A book written by my wife's husband on how to make friends , enjoy food with them and share the gospel! Here's my friend Chris' review: This is a great book; practical, engaging and a delight to read. Written with humour and insight, Andy shows how simple it is to talk to people about the gospel, and all based around food and hospitality. The first half of the book is very practical, the second half follows up with the underpinning scriptures. The chapter on God's grace is stunning, and my own journey has been impacted by this first hand. Written with love and care, this is an excellent, practical, joyous book to read.