faith

Real Friendship is Based on Unconditional Love

Real friendship is based on love and acceptance.

Anyone who doesn’t love and accept you isn’t really your friend. They’re an acquaintance (or not a very good friend, depending on who you ask).

If someone you thought was your friend decides based on something you disagree on that they no longer love and accept you did they really love you to begin with?  

Love is unconditional.

So, no.

They didn’t accept you and love unconditionally, therefore, it wasn’t really a friendship.

Even people who have accused me of not being saved (because I can’t heal myself) I still consider myself their friend because I still love them and care about them.  

If they don’t reciprocate, they are not really my friend.  

I know I’m redefining friendship, but this is an important point.

If I wronged them by sinning against them and they had a legitimate reason to be upset, I would expect them to come to me like the bible commands.

If they just decide to be offended because they don’t like what I say and it hurts their feelings so they’re not going to be my friend anymore, that doesn’t reflect love which is the basis for true friendships.

Therefore, if a disagreement makes you abandon a friendship, it wasn’t a true friendship based on real love and acceptance to begin with.  

Even if people behaved that way, I would still care about them and consider myself their friend.

I care about them so much that I’m willing to try to help them correct where they’re wrong biblically even if it upsets them.  

That’s real love.  

People just don’t understand that it’s real love.

Real love makes the hard choices.

Real love stands for truth.

But I wouldn’t stop being their friend over a difference of opinion.

I might not be their “friend” on Facebook, but that’s not the same thing as a real friendship.

I don’t go on other people’s pages, wall, and blogs, and argue about their beliefs.

If it is a good friend who is in obvious sin, I will address it privately with them probably in real life and not online.

But I usually don’t direct my opinions at people. I don’t go confront them.  

I won’t call them out by name in a blog or confront them in their home about it.

I write my concerns about a certain ideology or theology on my blog, trust God to bring whoever needs to read it, and leave the results in His hands.  

I actually have unbelieving friends and family that are more unconditionally loving than some believers I know.  

That’s a sad state of affairs and reflects poorly on Christians.

Being offended by something is not a good reason to cease showing godly love to other people.

The most loving thing you can do is show someone where they are wrong biblically.

But with kindness and in an appropriate way.

I think it would be rude of me to go onto other people’s online spaces and tell them I disagree with them. I do not, however, believe that it is rude for me to say I disagree with a belief or doctrine in my online space.

They may find what I have posted as offensive, but I have not behaved in an offensive way.

In my opinion, this is not a good reason to walk away from a friendship.

It certainly is not a biblical reason to stop being kind to the person. We are always to be kind.

Depending on the severity of the false teaching, I may choose to not have anything to do with a certain church.

But I do not make it about the people.

It is about the ideas.

The doctrine.

I will never agree with anyone 100% of the time.

If we always get offended when we don’t agree we’re going to be offended a lot.

The proper response is not acting like we are still in middle school, pouting and saying “You’re not my friend anymore;” itis to prayerfully consider what was written or said about the wrong doctrine.

1) If you disagree, move on. No good can come from arguing.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Philippians 2:14-16

2) Post your opinion in your online space if you must. That is what I do.

3) If you’re wrong, admit it.

Either way, a friendship –a true friendship– should not be affected by a difference in opinion, even a difference in theological opinion.

Being offended and taking it personally helps no one.

That is an irrational and emotional response to a logical, theological discussion.

We are not to be controlled by our emotions. The heart, the seat of emotion, is wicked and cannot be trusted.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

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Being offended is just anger that someone said something we didn’t like.

Love, by its very definition is not easily offended.

“It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:5

We should not allow anger and emotion to control us.

“…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin;…” Ephesians 4:22-26

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20


We are to be controlled by our minds.

It is the world’s way to be controlled by their emotions and easily angered when others don’t say and do what they want. That does not reflect maturity in Christ or godly behavior.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

Calling groups out because they teach false doctrine is very unpopular in today’s church, but it is very biblical. I am not going to stop doing it just because people get offended by it.

It is not my job to not upset people; We are called to speak the truth in love.

We are called to test teachings and compare them to scripture to see if they hold up.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1

“The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. ” Act 17:10-11

That is all that I am doing.

At least I am making people think about what they believe. Even if they don’t agree with me, if it is driving people back to the bible to look at what it actually says, then my goal was accomplished.  

It is my job to point people back to scripture. What they do with it after that is between them and God.

If we can abide different opinions from unbelievers, why can’t we from other believers?

Why does a different opinion bring so much anger? It shouldn’t.

Christians are usually the first ones to say “Just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean I don’t care about you.” The same is true between believers who don’t agree theologically.  

I have many family and friends with whom I disagree –believers and unbelievers.

We choose to love each other anyway.

That is how it should be.

If someone is willing to throw away a friendship over a disagreement, it wasn’t a very good friendship to begin with.

In fact, I would say they weren’t really your friend at all.

Because that is not how real friends act.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

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