6 Friends Every Christian Has And The One You Really Need

 
Rachel Jones | September 26th 2018

Every gal needs good friends. And every Christian gal needs good Christian friends. 

The Bible paints a rich picture of Christian friendship. It talks about the church being a “fellowship” of brothers and sisters, where we speak the truth in love to one another, get honest about our sin, support one another through our struggles, and fight side-by-side to grow more godly.  

But if you’re anything like me, that’s not how most of your Christian friendships look in reality. 

Here are six types of friend that every Christian has, and one that we all need to have and need to be. (I know which one I default to instead…)

The never-sharer

Listens to all your problems, and likes to dig around for all the details, but never divulges theirs. A friend like this makes you feel like you’re a special case and the only one with problems in their life.


The over-sharer

This friend is great at offloading their struggles onto you, but rarely, if ever, makes space for you to reciprocate. After a while, it makes you wonder if they’re really interested in the friendship at all.


The one-upmanship-er

Got a problem? Well, they can give you at least three examples of a similar problem that they experienced, but theirs was waaaaaay more difficult/painful/traumatic. It looks like sympathy, and they think it’s helpful, but truly it’s not.


The sympathetic head-nodder 

AKA The Antinomian (for all your theology buffs). This friend tries to reassure you that “we all mess up” and “it’s really not that bad” whenever you fess up to something. They mean well, but by trivialising your sin they’re not actually helping. 

 

The joker

They don’t want to emotionally engage with other people’s baggage, so whenever you try to share something or ask them about their struggles, they push away all the awkwardness with a bit of light banter. 

 

The I’m-fine faker

Wow, how does this person seem to have everything together, ALL THE TIME!? Oh wait, they don’t, nobody does, some are just better at hiding it than others. 

 

The real friend 

This is the friend we all long for and need. They ask you things like, ‘Hey, how’s your heart today?’ and persist past your vague responses. They’re not judgemental but they encourage you to get serious about your sin, while reminding you that God’s grace is new every day. They’re not afraid to bare their sin before you. They talk about Jesus—a lot! And they consistently demonstrate that they’re into this fellowship thing and want to do life with you, alongside you—and they expect you to do the same for them.

Real

Real

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How being real with others will help us fight sin and grow authentic friendships

If you recognised you or your friends in those GIFs then maybe, like me, you’ll resonate with what Catherine Parks writes in her new book, Real: The Surprising Secret to Deeper Relationships:

"Deep down, I long for the kind of friendships where I can let down my guard and not have to manage perceptions. I want to be truly who I am—to laugh with abandon, cry without embarrassment, and confess fears and failures. I long to be honest and real and be loved unconditionally despite all the mess. And the irony is that [for years] I went about trying to build those relationships by hiding the mess, managing perceptions, and covering up my failings."

I had the joy of working with Catherine as her editor on Real—and I learned a lot. She shows that the secret to growing the relationships we crave is in developing a biblical habit of repentance. By being honest about our sin before God and receiving his forgiveness, we're freed be honest about our sin with others. When we drop the act and allow ourselves to be vulnerable by sharing our struggles, not only are we strengthened in our fight against sin, but we experience authentic gospel fellowship.

That’s the kind of friend I need—so it’s the kind of friend I’m trying to learn to be. 

Rachel Jones

Rachel Jones is the author of Is This It? and the award-winning Five Things to Pray series, and an editor at The Good Book Company. She leads Bible studies for young adults and helps teach kids at her church, Chessington Evangelical Church, in Surrey, UK. Rachel studied History at Manchester University before joining TGBC.

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