Dear friends, if God loved us that much we also should love each other. (1 John 4:11)
- What is the common ground you share with various friends in your life?
- What do you value in friendships?
- How can your friendships benefit from God’s grace?
Receive It. Grace guides our friendships…when we invite God to fill our friendships with his grace. The problem is our focus in friendships is often not about God’s grace but about other factors such as sharing fun times together, being able to relate to one another, finding convenient times and opportunities to get together, feeling affirmed by one another, and so on. It’s not that any of these are bad reasons in and of themselves. However, we limit our friendships when these reasons become the foundation of and ongoing reasons for the friendship. Each of these is limiting, because we will eventually have a not-so-fun experience with a friend or begin to define fun in different ways. We’ll struggle to relate to one another because we grow and change through various life stages. Our schedules will change, and we’ll have difficulty connecting. Instead of affirming each other, we’ll offend, ignore, or hurt each other. Of course, relationships are going to grow and change, and our core friendships of one season of life will likely differ from another season. That’s okay. God wants to weave our lives throughout others’ lives, and when we stubbornly tie a knot where one isn’t intended to be tied, we can create issues that hold us and others back. What God’s grace provides for our friendships is foundation, guidelines, and space. When God’s grace surrounds our friendships, we aren’t limited by what we prefer, think, and assume. We live by God’s standards, which are not only full of truth but also trustworthy, forgiving, generous, courageous, and consistent. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotions—both positive and negative—of friendships. God’s grace gives us the reality check we need. When we trust God to replace our limited perspectives with his sovereign perspective, we respond in his grace instead of our own strength and assumptions.
Live It. When you consider grace in friendships, who comes to mind? Whether it’s someone you need to give thanks to for their grace or someone you need to extend grace to, reach out and make contact today.