In our Caregroup we are reading a book by Charles Stanley: Walking Wisely. Its a pretty good book. The chapter we read this week wasn't about any old "friendship" it was specifically talking about building deep, intimate, godly friendships. He gives us 10 of the ways to help a friendship grow on godly principles (and then I added a few of my own at the end to make it my Thursday 13!). Stanley begins by saying that non of these ways should be isolated from the others. A deep friendship is built upon a composite of factors.
1. A Shared Faith In Christ Jesus
There is a level of intimacy that can occur in a friendship when you are both firm believers that just cannot happen in a relationship with a non-believer.
2. Mutual Interests
Obviously we all enjoy having things in common that we can share: sports, hobbies, music, career, etc.
3. A Willingness to Give More Than Receive
In any good relationship you should be able to put the other's needs above your own. Its a great way to show someone that we care about them.
4. A Willingness to Risk Pain or Rejection
Acquaintances may be able to remain surfacey, but in order to have a real genuine friendship with someone you have to open yourself up. Sometimes those times of pain and rejection deepen and strengthen a relationship.
5. Vulnerability to Each Other
Genuine friendships demand trust. Only with trust can you be free to be transparent and open with another.
6. An Attitude of Service
Jesus gives us the perfect example of how a friend serves when he washes the feet of his disciples. We need to be able to serve our friends out of love for them and love for Christ.
7. A Willingness to Forgive Freely and Quickly
There is no room for grudges in friendships. When you can sincerely forgive someone and move on it strengthens the relationship that you have and builds trust in one another.
8. Acceptance of Both Criticism and Praise
I think this is a hard one for alot of people. But there have been times when I've been thankful to have friends in my life who can tell me when I've screwed up... and also remind me when I've done well.
9. An Adherence to Biblical Principles
Clearly we should all be applying biblical principles in all of our relationships. But I think we forget sometimes how important that is.
10. Proven Over Time
You know what they say: "Friendship is like a fine wine, it only gets better with age". (or something like that. Its so true! The longer you're in a relationship the more experiences you have together, the more you build the trust and learn about eachother.
The rest I have added from my own experiences/ideas about friendship...
11. The Sharing of Food
Some of the best conversations and fun times happen around a dinner table or chillin' with a bag of popcorn, etc.
12. The Sharing of Fun
How can you have a real friendship without FUN? It can happen in any number of ways but I think its a much in any relationship!
13. The Sharing of Family
I think those people that you are closest with are probably the ones who know (or at least have met) your family. It helps people understand you so much better when they see where you have come from.
If you have any Friendship Builder ideas leave me a comment and let me know! Thanks!