Archives
You are currently viewing archive for January 2011
Posted By Nan

We all know what friends are supposed to be. They are the ones who stick by you, are loyal, help you when you are in need, cheer you up when you are down, come to you when they are in need and stand by you. All friends should do that. Christian friends can and should do more.

Luke 6:32-33 even ‘sinners’ love those who love them and do good to those who do good to them. That is great for helping others, but it doesn’t really tell us about being friends. In Luke 6:38 we are told that if we give, we will receive abundance in return. That is great for the outsiders in a group, but what about friends?

Luke 7:44b-47 speaks of the outsider who poured her love on Jesus, while the established ‘virtuous’ rejected her. Again this applies to the outsiders. Luke 10:25-37 is the story of the Good Samaritan. Again, that is a message for how we should treat all others.

So what is Christian friendship about? We are told to encourage one another. We are told to pray for one another. We are told not to gossip about each other. Paul admonished believers to resolve their differences. This didn’t mean we were to bully others to ‘forgive’ and continue as bosom buddies with someone who has wronged the other and is not in the least penitent. I always remember a section in C.S. Lewis’s “The Dawn Treader” where Lucy is reading a book of spells. She sees a spell that allows her to hear what others are saying and finds herself hearing a conversation with a girl she had befriended at school the previous year. This girl is talking to another girl Lucy doesn’t like. The first girl is telling the second girl that she was only ‘humouring Lucy’ by hanging around with her. Aslan appears and asks Lucy to consider whether the girl meant it, or felt threatened and said what the other girl wanted to hear. Lucy realises too late that she has lost a friend forever. No matter what this girl’s motive, Lucy will always remember the harsh words and it will be a barrier to future friendship. Sometimes, when someone does something bad to us, we can forgive them, but we can never forget the bad things they did. This memory ruins any hope of future friendship. Forgiveness means not holding anything against the person who has wronged us. It does not mean being best friends with the person again.

Remember Galatians 5:22-23 and apply the ‘fruit of the spirit’ to your relationships.

Galatians 6:10 reminds us to “do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers”. Phillipians 2:4 – “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Remember Matthew 2:1-12. Jesus visits Capernaum. Friends lower a paralytic man through the roof so that he can reach Jesus and be healed. What they did wasn’t easy, but they did it because he was their friend.

I would like to finish with a comment left by Cathy. She so beautifully sums up what Christian friendship is about that I would like to share it with those who may not have read it. Thank you Cathy for your wonderful insights. “God has put an end to some of my Christian friendships over the years because these so called friends were a stumbling block to my spiritual growth. Their negativity and judgmental attitudes were poisoning me..these friendships were draining me. I came to realise that just because someone is a Christian it does not mean I am going to have a good friendship with them. A 'good' friendship doesn't mean a perfect friendship, but it should mean a loving, balanced friendship..not one that is controlling, manipulative, and draining. I can forgive these people, but this does not mean that God wants them in my life...He wants me to have healthy relationships and have the people around me who will be used of Him (whether they are Christian or not) to help me grow in Christ and become the person He wants me to be.

 
Posted By Nan

In my last two blog entries, I talked about two friendship stories. My focus in these stories was on the need to place our friendships in God’s hands. In the first story, I related what happened when I obeyed God. In the second story, I related what happened when I disobeyed. I also talked about one of the reasons for my disobedience being the church’s teaching on the need to have Christian friends. A lot of this was based on 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, which I encourage you to read.
In verse 14 of that passage, we are exhorted to not yoke ourselves to unbelievers. This is the verse that many take as evidence that we must have Christian friends. As I have said in the past, we must take Bible passages in context. We must look at the circumstances of the original events and at the verses around the selected verse. Looking at the following verses (15-17), there are five questions that are asked.
1.What do righteousness and wickedness have in common?
2.What fellowship can light have with darkness?
3.What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?
4.What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
5.What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?
The statement that follows these five questions says that we are all a temple of the living God (18).
In the Corinthian church at the time Paul wrote the letter of 2 Corinthians, there were among the faithful, those who worshipped pagan gods. The Christians were worshipping alongside these people, as they worshipped using their pagan practices. Paul was exhorting the Christians not to do that. Why? Because we cannot serve two gods, we will love one and hate the other. (Matthew 6:24, although referring to love of money is true of everything that rivals our service to God). We will also be corrupted by the pagan practices of those who worship pagan gods.
Over the years, God has shown me that it is not wrong to be friends with non believers as long as it doesn’t interfere with our walk with God. Many think that having Christian friends makes it easier to stay on the 'straight and narrow'. That can be true if you have a strong commitment to God that is shared by your friends. But if you are using friendships with other Christians to not have to try with God, then you will not progress in your relationship with God. Chances are, your friends will share the attitude you do, so you will both backslide.
Remember Mark 4:15-20 and be the seed sown on the good soil and don’t forget Matthew 5:14-16 and let your light shine before men so that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.

 
Posted By Nan

I have been tidying my desk and found the following article that I received last October. I loved it then and put it aside to read again. Revisiting it again today, I was reminded of how beautifullyit  sums up my own belief in how we should relate to God. I would love to share this link with you.

 

The article is "Is Jesus Enough" by Chip Brogden.

http://theschoolofchrist.org/articles/is-jesus-enough.html

 

I pray you are as moved and empowered by it as I have been every time I have read it.

 

May we never stop Praising our Lord and offering a sacrifice of praise to our mighty God.

 

 
Posted By Nan

Many years ago, I moved out of Sydney with my husband and young daughter. I was befriended  by some nice Christian women. Shortly after that I became pregnant again. My friends started treating me like a leper. This was the time in my life when God told me I was a prophet. These women were putting me down, telling me I had no ministry gifts and was only fit to be a ‘back room boy’. I was bullied to accept their shoddy behaviour as acceptable. Being young and inexperienced I accepted this. One day, when I was pregnant with my third child I was feeling inexplicably miserable and isolated. My supposed friends had been ignoring me for weeks and I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong. I spent the day in prayer. As I was praying God told me “Get rid of your friends, they are no good for you”.  I was stunned and immediately thought I couldn’t do that, they were my only Christian friends and I need Christian friends don’t I? So I didn’t do as God directed. He acted and one of my friendships was terminated. After this time I found myself richly blessed with non Christian friends. God was blessing me in a way I had always been taught was not correct. After all, we are supposed to have Christian friends aren’t we?
I continued the friendship with the other woman. Two years later I caught her telling terrible lies about a non Christian, mutual friend. I told my friend. Her response was to tell me about the terrible lies this woman had been telling about me for years. Apparently this was triggered by jealousy at me being pregnant, despite the fact she had three children and didn’t want any more. My friend had initially believed the lies, but had then got to know me and realised they were not true. All my Christian friends had believed the lies and happily spread them. I can’t describe the feeling of betrayal I felt at this. All the nastiness and the horrible way I had been treated for the past six years made sense. I realised that God was right when He told me to get rid of my friends. We are so programmed by the church to believe we have to have Christian friends. We are told to forgive the most unacceptable behaviour and continue as friends.
 When I was pregnant with my fourth child, my non Christian friends treated me as someone really special. They were stunned to hear how my Christian friends had treated me previously. I realised another dimension of the terrible way I had been treated by these Christian women. The poison this woman and her Christian friends poured out on me and my family fills me with horror. A wonderful man of God once told me that satan gets more mileage out of causing trouble with Christians because disempowering them means he won’t lose any of the non Christians he already owns. Why do we allow ourselves to so readily fall for satan’s lies and behave in this way? A measure of the extreme evil this lying woman had unleased on me and my family is the high volume of visions I had back then of satan attacking me and my family. In every case, Jesus stepped in to protect me, so I always knew I was safe. One vision I could never shake was of terrible evil in this woman’s house. Sometimes it would sit on her back, but mostly it resided over her house. Whatever pain she had, she had allowed satan to derail her and her family, as well as attempt to derail others. The poison she spread had terrible impact on many people.
The knowledge that, if I had obeyed God,  I could have spared myself some of the pain I suffered, is what drives me to always place my friendships in God’s hands. It also informs me of the fact that a person’s faith in Jesus does not necessarily make them a friend. I don’t believe a person’s faith is very high on God’s list of attributes for our friend’s to have.

 
Posted By Nan

Almost 15 years ago I was praying for a friend. She didn’t trust God because of the way her church rejected her when she tried to get help to escape her father’s abuse. I had prayed for many years that she would trust God and be able to let Him into her life. On this day God gave me the message that if she didn’t accept him she would lose everything. (Her husband had been threatening he would walk out and take the kids from her). I was instructed to wait to give her the message.
About eight years later we were in different places. I was living overseas and she had lost her marriage, had a breakdown and moved to another state. I only heard from her when she wanted prayer. One day, I received a letter from her asking for prayer. Naturally, I prayed for her. As I prayed, God told me He didn’t want my prayers. She had to ask herself, and until she did, He would not answer them and I was to tell her that. I spent six months examining whether this was really God’s message, or whether I was projecting my own feelings into the situation. Eventually, I asked other Christians to pray with me. Deep down, I knew this message was from God. He wanted me to give her both messages. So I wrote her a letter. I told her that asking God for help wouldn’t solve her problems, but she would not be facing them alone. I suspect, if she had heeded the message, a lot of her, and her children’s, confusion would have been resolved. So what happened? I didn’t hear from her for many months. Eventually I received a letter. It was a ‘me’ message, all about her and the news she wanted to share, with no mention of my letter.
Another seven years have passed and I now live close to her. A few weeks ago, after all this time, shementioned my letter, but attributed it to another friend. I think she knows the letter came from me. I suspect she won’t confront me about it because if she did, the message I would give her is one that she doesn’t want to hear. She has distorted the words and meaning in the letter. The truth is, she has lost almost everything, she is terrified, life is very stressful and she still refuses to ask God for help. After she mentioned this letter, I spent a lot of time in prayer asking God if I had done the wrong thing sending the original letter. His answer? No, you sent my message. You are not responsible for her choice to misinterpret it. She has a choice to choose life or misery and she prefers misery. Why? So often, the miserable life a person has is comfortable. It is not pleasant, but changing is just too scary. For the first time since I met this woman I have lost the urge to pray for her salvation. What contact will we continue to have? Who knows. I have handed her to God and all responsibility for friendship is on His shoulders. It is a hard lesson to learn but everything in our lives, including our friendships is on His shoulders.

Do you have any thoughts on this? Have you ever had an experience like this? I would love to read your comments.

 


 
Google

User Profile
Nan
Female
Australia

 
Archives
 
Visitors

You have 168440 hits.