Friend. What does that word mean to you? An ally during conflict? A hug when the world seems to be ending? A coffee companion offering cheesy laughs?
The dictionary describes a friend as “a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.” Basically, this definition means someone you like who also likes you back—but I believe friendship is so much more. In our society, we overuse the word “friend.” When you’re “friend-ing” someone on Facebook or you have a multitude of acquaintances at school, are you really building true and godly relationships with those people, becoming real friends? Probably not.
Like the word “love,” we’ve all used the word “friend” and allowed it to become blasé and trite instead of meaning the amazing, incredible gift that friendship truly is. And what about the people around us? I have seen so many supposedly “godly” people throw away and damage perfectly good relationships with me and with other people! Even Christians seem to have forgotten how to be a friend and develop friendships! And since society seems to have forgotten good old-fashioned friendship, I’m going to break down what I think makes a true friend with my Five Gs of Kinship to give us all a refresher.
A true friend is…
- Godly. Now, I don’t mean that she has to hold candles and sing creepy hymns from underneath a shawl or something. No, the trait of godliness in a friend is defined simply by this: He or she has the same Christian values as you do. Before befriending someone and moving forward with a deeper relationship, take a moment to step back and really assess that person’s character. Is he/she a healthy influence? Do both of you share the same boundaries and spiritual beliefs? If you answered “no” to either of these questions, maybe that person isn’t a good match for you.
- Giving. Do you remember being a kid and having that mean girl who never shared her toys with you? You probably had negative feelings toward her, and you definitely didn’t want to pursue a friendship! Well, the same is true in teenage relationships—if you aren’t loving and giving to people around you, they won’t want to be around you or be your friends. Period. This may seem harsh, but it’s true! Having the quality of a servant’s heart means giving and sharing things with others, whether that means your love, your help or your car (with parental guidance, of course!). Try to stretch yourself and share things you’ve never shared before with your friends, and I promise you it will go a long way in your relationship.
- Grateful. Being grateful is such a precious quality to have. God says time and time again in the Bible to be thankful and thank Him for the things He has blessed you with. Friends are blessings to the people around them and are able to bless and share Christ’s love—they certainly have a lot to be thankful for! So whenever someone invites you over or does something sacrificial for you, always be thankful and tell them you have been blessed by their actions—it will make them feel special and encouraged! And try to find friends who are also truly grateful for life in general and are constantly praising God and directing their thanks to Him. Because if you are grateful to God and value life, your thanks will overflow into the other relationships of your life and allow you to truly appreciate those whom God has brought into your life.
- Gracious. Nobody wants to be friends with someone who screams and yells at them if they spill grape juice on the floor! Pursue people who are patient and calm during times of frustration and turmoil so that you may have the security that they will not lash out at you. Loyal friends never yell, regardless of the situation. Arguments are expected, but that doesn’t mean he or she has permission to verbally abuse you with foul language, hurtful names or awful rumors! God has forgiven you time and time again, so why not forgive and be gracious to others?
- Grounded. Okay, I don’t mean grounded in the sense that her mom has thrown her into her room for a week, isolated from civilization. I mean that she is not a wild child, flinging herself into rebellious oblivion to be swallowed up into the sinful and destructive life of partying and drinking and whatever. A friend must be sensible, able to tell right from wrong and make wise and God-directed decisions that don’t put herself or anyone else around her at risk of harm. A friend should look out not just for her own best interests, but that of her peers, and if that means backing out of the so-called “can’t miss” party on Friday night, then so be it! A friend should have her interests resting in God’s hands, not in the hands of her boyfriend or other people.
Now that you know about the Five Gs of Kinship, you’ll be able to be the godliest and best friend you can be! I’m not saying it’s going to be easy—I’ve spent all my life searching for a true and godly person to build a solid friendship with. I’ve had to rest my relationships in God’s hands until the friend He has in store for me is revealed. For now, I will continue to be the best friend I can be to those around me and my current acquaintances. Follow the Five Gs of Kinship, and I promise that you will find friends who will bless you for many years to come!
Written by PI Girl Allie
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