Ever wonder what makes friendships truly special, especially the kind that feels just right in God’s eyes? Like many, you’re probably looking to find a connection that goes beyond just hanging out. You know, the ones filled with understanding, respect, and a commitment to stand by each other.
This article dives into key personality traits that make a great friend, all rooted in Scriptures. Later, we’ll explore examples in the Bible where friends have and haven’t embodied these values. Ready for an insightful journey? Let’s explore together!
What are the signs of a Godly friendship?
These qualities outline characteristics of a good friend according to the Bible. It’s crucial to recognize that we’re all a work in progress, continuously being refined and perfected. Hence, it’s essential to stand by our friends as they navigate their way towards becoming the fullest expression of God’s design.
In essence, a strong friendship acknowledges imperfections and humanity. The hallmark of a Godly friendship is found in two individuals committed to allowing God’s transformative work, staying humble, and striving to become the best versions of themselves.
- Pray for Each Other: In a Godly friendship, the practice of praying for each other is important. Friends uphold one another in prayer, seeking God’s guidance, strength, and blessings in each other’s lives. Scripture: James 5:16 (NIV) – “… pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
- Prefer the Other: In a Godly friendship, there is a mutual willingness to prioritize each other’s needs and preferences. This involves considering the other person’s desires above one’s own and selflessly seeking their well-being. Scripture: Philippians 2:4 (NIV) – “Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.”
- Practice Self-Control: A Godly friendship involves exercising self-control in words, actions, and emotions. Both friends strive to manage their reactions, avoiding impulsive behavior, and demonstrating a Christ-like demeanor in all situations. Scripture: Proverbs 25:28 (NIV) – “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”
- Exude Gentle Kindness: Godly friendships are characterized by a gentle and kind approach in interactions. Friends show compassion, offer encouragement, and extend grace, fostering an atmosphere of understanding and warmth. Scripture: Ephesians 4:32 (NIV) – “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
- There is Compatibility: Good Christian friendships often stem from a sense of compatibility in personality, shared values, and similar interests. This makes it easier to relate to each other and enjoy each other’s company.
- Practice Forgiveness and Repentance: When we make mistakes or hurt someone else, it’s important to seek forgiveness and make things right. Good Christian friendships are built on a foundation of repentance and forgiveness, and each person takes responsibility for their actions. Scripture: James 5:16 (NIV) – “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
Godly friends aren’t selfless and don’t consistently think of themselves only.
- Carry Respect: Mutual respect is an important ingredient in any friendship, and Christian friendships are no exception. In a healthy Christian friendship, each person values the other’s opinions and ideas, and there isn’t a need for one person to always be “right” or to dominate the conversation. Scripture: Philippians 2:3 (NIV) – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
- Avoiding “Therapist” or “Parent” Roles: Healthy Christian friendships thrive on equality and mutual respect. Neither person should assume superiority or expect submission from the other. It’s essential to refrain from taking on roles like a mentor, therapist, counselor, or parent/mom. Instead, both friends should encourage seeking professional help when necessary. Scripture: Proverbs 11:14 (NIV) – “For lack of guidance, a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.”
- They have other friends and their own interests: A good Christian friend is someone who has their own passions and hobbies. They don’t rely solely on the friendship for happiness or fulfillment. They pursue their own goals and aspirations, which can be inspiring to you and help you to grow as a person.
- You’re Equally Yoked: Good Christian friendships are often built on a shared commitment to Christ and the desire to grow in faith. This means that both people are “equally yoked” and can support each other in their spiritual journeys. Scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:14 (NIV) – “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
- No Competition or Jealousy: In a healthy Christian friendship, there’s no competition or jealousy. Friends celebrate each other’s successes and avoid rivalry. This creates an environment where both can grow without unnecessary comparison. cripture: Philippians 2:3 (NIV) – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
- You’re Both Teachable: No one is perfect, and good Christian friendships are built on a foundation of teachability and openness to constructive criticism. Each person is willing to listen to the other and learn from their mistakes. Scripture: Proverbs 19:20 (NIV) – “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end, you will be counted among the wise.”
- Empathy is Shown: A good Christian friend is someone who thinks about your feelings and takes them into consideration. They are sensitive to your needs and are there to offer support and encouragement when you need it. Scripture: Romans 12:15 (NIV) – “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
Related Article: 17 Bible Verses About Bad Friends
Godly friends should be committed to living a life that God would be proud off!
- Openness to Different Perspectives: Good Christian friendships are built on a foundation of openness and a willingness to hear different perspectives. Each person is willing to listen to the other and consider their point of view, even if they don’t always agree. Scripture: Proverbs 18:15 (NIV) – “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.”
- Dependability and Loyalty: A good Christian friend is someone you can rely on, no matter what. They are there for you in good times and bad, and you can trust them to keep your confidence. Scripture: Proverbs 17:17 (NIV) – “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
- No Gossiping: Good Christian friendships are built on a foundation of trust and respect, and gossiping is a violation of that trust. A good Christian friend doesn’t engage in gossip or speak negatively about others. Instead, they speak words of kindness and encouragement, and seek to build others up. Scripture: Proverbs 16:28 (NIV) – “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.”
- Commitment to Spiritual Growth: Good Christian friendships are often built on a shared commitment to growing in faith and hearing God’s wisdom and guidance. Each person encourages the other to seek God and follow His plan for their life. Scripture: Proverbs 27:17 (NIV) – “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
- Supportive: A good Christian friend is someone who supports your choices and encourages you to follow your dreams. They don’t try to control you or make you feel guilty for pursuing your goals. Scripture: Galatians 6:2 (NIV) – “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
- Truthfulness: A good Christian friend is someone who tells you the truth, even when it’s hard to hear. They don’t sugarcoat things or lie to spare your feelings, but they also don’t nag or force their opinions on you. Scripture: Ephesians 4:15 (NIV) – “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
A good Christian friend doesn’t engage in gossip or speak negatively about others.
- Good Listener: A good Christian friend is someone who listens to you without interrupting or devaluing your thoughts and feelings. They are there to offer support and encouragement, and they are willing to lend a listening ear when you need it. Scripture: James 1:19 (NIV) – “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
- They aren’t codependent: A healthy Christian friendship involves two individuals who support each other, but also have healthy boundaries. Your friend should not become overly attached or dependent on you for their emotional well-being. They should be able to function independently and not rely on you to solve all of their problems. Codependency can lead to an unhealthy dynamic where one person feels responsible for the other’s happiness and well-being. Scripture: Proverbs 25:17 (NIV) – “Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house—too much of you, and they will hate you.”
- Stability and Consistency: To maintain a good Godly friendship, it’s important to be steady and consistent. Both friends should act in a reliable way, creating a strong base for their interactions. Also, they should consistently show Godly behavior, avoiding confusion and promoting a peaceful atmosphere. Scripture: Psalm 62:2 (NIV) – “Truly, he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
- Peace is Important: A Godly friendship seeks tranquility and harmony. Friends avoid making minor issues chaotic through harmful behaviors like gossiping, revenge, blame-shifting, playing the victim, or manipulation. Instead, they focus on maintaining a peaceful relationship by resolving conflicts amicably and keeping communication calm. Scripture: Romans 12:18 (NIV) – “If you can, try to live peacefully with everyone.”
- Fruits of the Spirit: In a Godly friendship, there’s an emphasis on expressing the Fruits of the Spirit, which include love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV). Friends strive to embody these qualities in their interactions, fostering an environment of love, joy, and mutual respect.
- They point you to Christ: In a Godly friendship, a significant aspect is the shared commitment to point each other towards Christ. Friends encourage spiritual growth, guiding one another in their faith journey, and reminding each other of the teachings and love of Jesus. Scripture: Colossians 3:16 (NIV) – “… admonish one another…”
- Respecting Boundaries: Another crucial aspect of a Godly friendship is the mutual honoring of boundaries. Friends understand and respect each other’s personal limits, ensuring a healthy and comfortable relationship. It’s essential to create an environment where one can freely say no, express disagreement, or set boundaries without fear of judgment.
Related Article: 6 Levels of Friendships + Quotes
Examples of Good Friendships In The Bible
8 Examples of Good Christian Friendships in the Bible
- 1. Jonathan and David: Scriptural Reference: 1 Samuel 18:1-4
- Compatibility: Jonathan and David’s souls were knit together, indicating a deep bond.
- Respect: Jonathan respected David’s anointing, even though it meant he wouldn’t be the next king.
- No “Therapist” or “Parent” Roles: They were equals, supporting each other without placing undue burdens on one another
- No Competition or Jealousy: Despite Jonathan being the natural heir to Saul’s throne and God’s indication that David would be king, there was no sense of rivalry or jealousy between them. Their friendship was built on mutual trust and support.
- 2. Naomi and Ruth: Scriptural Reference: Ruth 1:16-17
- Empathy: Ruth’s loyalty and empathy towards Naomi are evident in her famous declaration, “Where you go, I will go.”
- Dependability and Loyalty: Ruth’s commitment and loyalty to Naomi are unwavering.
- 3. Jesus and Peter: Scriptural Reference: John 21:15-17
- Teachability: Peter’s interactions with Jesus demonstrate a willingness to learn and grow, despite making mistakes.
- Supportive: Jesus supports and reinstates Peter after his denial, showing forgiveness and encouragement.
- 4. Paul and Timothy: Scriptural Reference: Philippians 2:19-22
- Equally Yoked: Paul and Timothy share a commitment to the Gospel and serving Christ.
- Commitment to Spiritual Growth: Paul guides and encourages Timothy in his faith journey.
- 5. Daniels, Meshach, Shadrach, Abednego: Scriptural Reference: Daniel 3:16-18
- Truthfulness: These friends stood for their beliefs, even in the face of adversity, refusing to compromise their faith.
- Supportive: They supported one another in remaining faithful to God, even in challenging circumstances.
- 6. Jesus and Thomas: Scriptural Reference: John 20:24-29
- Teachability: Thomas demonstrated a willingness to learn and grow when he doubted Jesus’ resurrection but later acknowledged Him as Lord.
- Empathy: Jesus responded to Thomas with understanding and empathy, addressing his doubts with patience.
- 7. Jesus and Matthew: Scriptural Reference: Matthew 9:9-13
- Supportive: Jesus demonstrated support by calling Matthew, a tax collector, to be one of His disciples, accepting him despite societal norms.
- Truthfulness: Jesus’s acceptance of Matthew reflects His commitment to truthfulness and breaking societal stereotypes.
- 8. Paul and Barnabas: Scriptural Reference: Acts 15:36-41
- Disagreement and Separation: Paul and Barnabas, who had been fellow missionaries and close friends, experienced a sharp disagreement regarding whether to take John Mark on their second missionary journey. The dispute was significant enough that they chose to part ways, with Paul taking Silas and Barnabas taking John Mark.
- Conflict Resolution: While the separation may be viewed as a negative aspect, it’s essential to note that disagreements and conflicts can arise even among faithful friends. However, the Bible also emphasizes the importance of resolving conflicts in a manner that allows for continued service in God’s kingdom.
This example demonstrates that even strong friendships among believers may encounter challenges, but it also underscores the significance of addressing conflicts with wisdom and grace.
5 Examples of Bad Christian Friendships in the Bible
Related Article: 17 Bible Verses About Bad Friends
- Cain and Abel: Scriptural Reference: Genesis 4:8
- Jealousy: Cain’s jealousy led to violence, a stark contrast to a trustworthy and respectful friendship.
- Naomi and Orpah: Scriptural Reference: Ruth 1:14
- Supportive: Orpah chose to return to her people, revealing a lack of enduring loyalty in difficult times.
- Judas and Jesus: Scriptural Reference: Matthew 26:14-16, 47-50
- Dependability and Loyalty: Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, displaying the opposite of loyalty and trustworthiness.
- Peninnah and Hannah: Scriptural Reference: 1 Samuel 1:1-8
- No Empathy: Peninnah, Elkanah’s other wife, lacked empathy for Hannah’s deep desire for children. Instead of offering support, she provoked Hannah, causing emotional distress.
- No Supportiveness: Peninnah did not demonstrate support for Hannah during her difficult time, but rather capitalized on her vulnerability to create strife.
- Jealousy and Competition: Peninnah’s actions reflected jealousy and a sense of competition, as she aimed to diminish Hannah’s worth by highlighting her own ability to bear children.
- Lack of Respect: The relationship between Peninnah and Hannah lacked mutual respect, with Peninnah intentionally aggravating Hannah’s pain.
- Gossiping: Peninnah’s behavior can be seen as a form of gossip, as she used words and actions to undermine Hannah’s standing and spread discord in the family.
- Job’s Friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar): Scriptural Reference: Job 2:11-13, Job 16:2-5, Job 42:7-9
- Lack of Empathy: Job’s friends, while initially sitting in silence with him during his suffering, later offered harsh and judgmental counsel, lacking empathy for his situation.
- False Accusations: They wrongly assumed that Job’s suffering was a result of his own sin, leading to false accusations and a lack of genuine support.