In Part I of this blog, I closed by asking the first of three questions.
- What does a godly friend look like?
Now, let’s look at the other two questions.
How can I BE a godly friend myself?
I started by praying for God to transform me into the woman who would be the wonderful friend I was looking for in my life. I think the key word here is “transforming.” I cling to Romans 12:2 because it says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
We have the opportunity to be just a little bit better every day. The process of transforming does not happen overnight. We take one little step to become the woman God created us to be. We won’t ever arrive at perfection, but when allowing God to do the work in us, we become more and more like our Creator and become more and more like the friend we have in Jesus.
What does a godly friend NOT do?
I shared previously how I have had failed attempts to create godly friendships. Developing real, raw, authentic friendships requires vulnerability, and sometimes this vulnerability is taken advantage of. I probably did not have to tell you because you have most likely experienced this hurt for yourself. When I was betrayed by a woman who seemed to be “very godly,” the sting hurt worse. I said I would never be that vulnerable and open or real with anyone ever again. Well, that lasted a few months. Never is a pretty strong word. I was just so hurt I did not want to feel that pain again, but clearly, deciding I would not be vulnerable ever again was not the solution. I eventually healed from the pain of betrayal, and then I tried again.
Godly friends do not betray their friends. Godly friends do not stay distant from all meaningful relationships. Here’s the deal: I learned a lot from this betrayal. Was it right for her to betray me? Absolutely not. Was it good for me not to engage in any more deep, meaningful relationships? Absolutely not.
Godly friends dig in. They invest their time and energy to create authentic relationships. Does this mean that as godly friends, we are to have weak boundaries and allow others to hurt us negligently? Also, absolutely not. However, when we establish healthy boundaries, we have the opportunity to invest in our relationships, and yet, if necessary, withdraw from the close friendship to protect ourselves.
How we engage in relationships with our inner circle, those closest to us, is more vulnerable and intimate than how we engage in relationships with more distance. Remember, just because a friend was once in your inner circle does not mean they will always have that level of closeness or trust. Usually, your inner circle consists of three to five of your closest relationships.
We have an opportunity to love and care for friends while maintaining more distance between each other to protect ourselves when required. We also have the option to sever unhealthy relationships if needed. Sometimes it feels harsh or even selfish to end a friendship, but sometimes it is needed. Ecclesiastes 3 encourages us that there is a season for everything. However, we have the opportunity to pray for them from afar. Sometimes we have the opportunity to continue the friendship, but with a new role. Sometimes a friendship morphs into a chance to minister to the friend and truly guide them to a healthier way to engage in relationships. With this option, we withdraw our idea of receiving a lot from the friendship and decide to pour into the other person. When we turn a friendship into part of our ministry, we act as the hands and feet of Jesus without the expectation of receiving the benefits. We can simply be givers and not much of a taker in the relationship.
Establishing healthy boundaries with your godly friends can be difficult. However, through fervent prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit, I am confident you will make the best decisions about your those who are in your inner circle.
Alita Reynolds is the Foundational Voice for Women of Faith, a 25-year ministry that has impacted millions of women around the world to live victoriously in Christ. She and her husband, GJ, now oversee and steward the organization. Alita also hosts the Women of Faith Show, is an ICCI Master Life Coach Trainer, writer, and sought-after speaker. Together, she and GJ have a goal to inspire and grow an authentic and loving community, and to see sisters in Christ lock arms and support one another. For more, see www.womenoffaith.com