What kind of friend are you?
What kind of friend are you?
This is a question I ask myself all the time. To answer honestly, I often think the response for myself is always a little self-righteous. As humans, we tend to think quite highly of ourselves. Unfortunately, my reality often doesn’t line up with what I think in my head, I’m not always loving, I’m rarely patient, I find it hard to forgive people when they hurt me, I could go on… and I’m sure there are things you can think about that you wish were not true about you.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Just think carefully about that for a moment. Sometimes it’s really easy to forget how much our friends influence us. Think about those five people for a minute, who are they in your life?
Now here’s a challenge… how would you describe them?
Do they encourage you, do they challenge you, do they love you, do they forgive you? Do they encourage you to be a better version of yourself?
Our friends should always build us up, not tear us down. It should not be about competing or feeling inadequate, or condemned, it should be about love.
Lets take this further for a minute, if we are the average of our friends what does that make us? If our friends are selfish, unforgiving, if they gossip, are jealous, spiteful, untrustworthy what are we likely to be?
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived, bad company ruins good morals.” We can probably all relate to that. How many times have you made bad decisions based on the people you’re with? Have you ever had that thought, “if only I hadn’t been with them.” It’s important for us to be aware of the influence our friends can have on our behavior.
I’m reminded of the story of the paralysed man who was lowered through a roof by his friends, found in Mark 2. Verse 5 says: “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Notice it wasn’t the paralytics faith that got him healed, it was his friends. It got me thinking, this is the attitude we should have when it comes to friendships. The world needs more people who are willing to go above and beyond for their friends; like the friends of the paralytic.
Do your five friends do these things for you? If yes, be the average. Imitate their way of friendship. If not, be that friend. The friendship of those four guys in Mark changed that man’s life, forever. They introduced him to Jesus, the best way they knew how, by loving him.
Imagine what an impact a friendship like that could have on the people around you. Jesus defined real friendship and when we live out his version of friendship it changes lives. We need to show the world what real friendship looks like.
Alex graduated from Lancaster University in 2017 with a degree in Management and Entrepreneurship and now volunteers for City Church Lancaster. She is especially fond of coffee, travelling and anything Italian.