Being a genuine friend is very important. As Christians, we should be genuine friends to others, yet we have all been around those who do not seem sincere friends, or maybe we ourselves have not been genuine friends. The best way to have a friend is to be a friend to others.
Jesus wants us to be friends with all people, yet even Jesus had the inner three of Peter, James, and John (Mark 5:37). The importance of being a genuine friend cannot be stressed enough; therefore, we are going to be discussing the importance of being a genuine friend.
Being a Genuine Friend
In order to have a friend, you have to be a friend. We have to be willing to invest in our friendships and be genuine with them. Fake friends are not true friends, and they can be toxic to our own mental health.
I have personally had many fake friends, who were not genuine, and they made me question myself, my worth, and my identity in Christ. If a friend ever causes you to question your own worth or your identity in Christ, you are not under any obligation to remain in the friendship.
The Lord does not want you to be involved in unhealthy friendships that will inflict pain, sin, or brokenness in your relationship with Him. If you have personally experienced fake friends, know that not all people will be fake friends.
Sadly, even Christians can be fake friends. As much as I hate to say this, it is true. Many of the Christian friends I had were not genuine and would talk about me behind my back, make me feel bad about myself, and start rumors about me.
If you know this is going on in your life, you need to cut ties with these “friends.” They are not your true friends. Do not assume that just because a person is a Christian that it automatically means they are a great friend.
We normally can trust our gut feelings to help us decipher who our true friends are. Also, spending time with them and having deep conversations are great ways to be able to discover real, genuine friends.
Many Christians believe Christians cannot be friends with unbelievers, but that is not true. While it is true that Christians should not marry unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14), the Bible never tells us that we cannot make friends with unbelievers.
In fact, Christians should extend friendship to unbelievers to help them come to know Christ and simply to be genuine, caring friends. If an unbeliever can tell a Christian is not being genuine, it’s going to lead them away from Christ.
As Christians, we are Jesus’ lights of the world, and we are the visible manifestation of Jesus’ love for the world (Matthew 5:14-16). If unbelievers view Christ’s followers as being insincere in their friendships, what will they think about Christ?
They will view Him as being insincere and not genuine. As we can see, this does a great disservice to Christ because we should extend His genuine friendship, love, and kindness — not a fake smile.
Trust me, unbelievers and believers alike can see through those who are not genuine friends. This is why it is vital that we are genuine friends who care about those around us, believers and unbelievers alike.
Honesty and Trust
A crucial aspect of being a genuine friend is found in the foundation of honesty and trust. All relationships need to be founded on trust. If an individual is only a friend to someone simply just to appear “nice” or “friendly,” others will be able to see through the fake smile and fake attitude.
We have to be honest in our approach to others and truly care about others. In addition to honesty, we need to be able to show that we can be trusted. Genuine friendships cannot be formed apart from trust.
We are not going to willingly commit to a friendship if the friendship is not built on trust. Therefore, in our friendships, we need to extend honesty and show ourselves to be trustworthy.
Jesus tells us directly, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
The Lord also tells us, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
From these passages of Scripture, Jesus tells us the importance of loving others. This is crucial for friendships — that we love one another as Jesus loves us. Love is not a feeling but rather a choice.
When we choose to love our friends, we look out for their own interests, encourage them, and help them in their walk with the Lord. As Paul tells us, we need to be consistently building up each other in the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Loving others is the hallmark of the Christian walk, as this is how others will know that we are followers of Christ. In our genuine friendships, we need to extend love, support, and encouragement.
The world has polluted and overused the word “love” to the point that it has a distorted meaning. Loving others means putting another person’s needs above your own.
Jesus showed us the ultimate demonstration of His love for us by dying on the cross to redeem us from our sins (John 3:16-17).
Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, all people can receive salvation by placing faith in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. What is a better way to be a true, genuine friend than to share the message of the gospel and live it out in your everyday life?
Loving others is crucial to being a genuine friend because you are caring about the needs of the other person over your own.
This is important to do in our own lives as the Bible tells us, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
Being a genuine friend is extremely important in our modern-day society, where fake friends come in waves. It is easy to be trapped in the cycle of fake friends, but it takes courage to step out of the cycle and truly find genuine friends.
As stated, we have to be a friend in order to have friends. True, genuine friends care about others and extend Jesus’ love, kindness, and forgiveness. When we are genuine friends, others will migrate to us because they know we love Christ and truly love others.
If you have struggled with fake friends or feel like you have not been a genuine friend to others, there are steps you can take to improve your friendships. If you have struggled with fake friends, know that your past experience with fake friends does not mean that all people are like this.
There are true friends out there, though they are hard to find. On the other side of the spectrum, if you have found that you have not been a genuine friend in the past, rest in the knowledge that you can start new today.
Extend Jesus’ love, kindness, and forgiveness to others, and try to be a genuine friend to others. As Christians, we have the help of the Holy Spirit to help us, guide us, and direct us. There is a new start with Jesus, including starting over in our friendships.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.
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