Proverbs 18: 24 “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. “
Yesterday, I shared a practice our family believes in and that is in sharing a smile with those we meet; but today we talk of friendship and showing genuine friendship. We must be interactive with people to cultivate friendship; we must show ourselves as friendly. But we must also be cautious about what kind of friendships we cultivate. Let me explain. My daughter and I were talking about showing mercy to others and offering friendship and our discussion led to “Who are we friendly to?” I love what my daughter said, “mom we love everyone, even the man living in the box; we don’t ask him to shower and get cleaned up before we treat him with God’s love, we love him where he is.” That’s so true! We don’t go out to make friendships to mold people into what we think they should be; we reach out to people because we are treating them with the love the LORD expects us to share. I look at all the examples of our LORD reaching out to the lepers; the socially lost; the unlovely; the poor; the sick in body and spirit and even to the spiritual leaders. Some passages you might read are: John 8:3-11; Matthew 11:1-6; Matthew Chapter 8; Luke 17:11-19; John 4:4-42; and John 3:1-21.
To those who walked in sin, he did not turn them away; instead he healed them and commanded that they turn from their sin. Our LORD befriended 12 sinners he called his disciples, but he changed their lives in the process; yes, I believe he even changed the life of Judas; how sad our LORD must have been that he lost this one (see John Chapter 17).
All of this is mentioned to say, we must remember it is our reasonable service to share God’s love through friendship, but in sharing, we must be careful to not take on the sins of those who refuse to turn away from their life of sin. We offer them the LORD who brings them eternal life; we minister to them as though we are ministering to our LORD (see: Matthew 25:34-45); we must show ourselves friendly without compromising our own walk.
As you encounter people in the days ahead, ask God to show you how you can show yourself friendly by offering the love the LORD wants from you. Who knows, you may find that you have just made acquaintance with a future brother or sister in Christ. Christ is a friend to all believers; it is He that sticks closer than a brother; let us introduce those people God brings into our lives to this friend we know as LORD and Savior.
Prayer: Father, thank you that you loved us when we were yet unlovely. Thank you that you saw us and wanted us to become your children. Open our eyes LORD so that we may see those around us who need you too. LORD, use our lives to minister to the lost of this world. Use our lives to edify those you have claimed as your own and use our lives to reflect your love. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Connie Renfro ©