Being a Real Friend: To Have Real Friends, You Need to Be One

There are two types of people in this world.  Friendly and welcoming…there really is a third, unfriendly, but we won’t talk about that group today.  You see friendly people are those folks who are friendly to those they like, kind to those that they know, and concerned about those they call friends.  Yet, they are oblivious to those they don’ t know, perhaps its unintentional, but this kind of person puts off the vibe that they don’t have time for anyone new in their life.  Then you have the welcoming person.  This person is a friend to their friends, but they are also on the lookout for the new person on the block, the new person at church, the new person at work to befriend.

Which kind will you be?  Maybe you need to befriend someone.  Step out of your circle and be Jesus in skin to the newcomer, the lonely, the one looking for a friend.  

Perhaps you need to be the lay it on the line kind of friend.  This was the individual mentioned in Philippians chapter 2 verse 30 that risked his life for Christ.  Every time you minister in the name of Jesus you are risking something.  Every time you put yourself out there to befriend, you risk being taken advantage of.  You risk being misunderstood.  You risk being looked at differently.  Being a good friend means taking a risk.  Putting your heart and life out there for another person to accept or reject.  We have become a people who seek comfort and control over our lives rather than taking minimal risks for Christ.  Have you felt the pull of the Holy Spirit towards certain life decisions that would turn your world upside down?  Perhaps stepping out of your comfortable circle of friends to befriend the lonely.  The risk is worth it.

One such area we all need to take more risks is going beyond friendly, to welcoming.  You see, friendly people are all about those they already know.  But a welcoming person is always on the lookout for those that need a friend.  There should be no one as welcoming as a Christ follower.  So how do you do it?  Here are a few principles to being a welcoming example of Jesus others.

1 – Take the initiative.  (Acts 18:1-4)  I will never forget that fateful day after church back in college.  A young man walked up to me to invite to join him and his friends for a football game watch party.  We’ve been friends ever since.  He didn’t know me, he only noticed I was the new guy and he took the initiative.  

2 – Give grace.  (Colossians 3:13)  True friends don’t hold grudges, they give grace, the forgive they move past offenses.

3 – Practice self-control with your words. (Proverbs 16:28)  Thoughtless and hurtful words can damage a friendship quicker than anything.  Be a friend of grace, encouragement and add value don’t tear down.  

4 – Be hospitable.  (Proverbs 25:17)  Practice good old fashioned Christian Hospitality.  Open up your home, invite folks in, share your life.  I recommend reading “The Gospel Comes with a House Key” as a primer to getting started.

5 – Be an encourager.  (Ephesians 4:2)  The old adage, build up or shut up applies well here.  Not that there aren’t times that a true friend will need to speak truth into another’s life, there will be.  But overall, encourage, encourage, encourage.

6 – Practice active listening.  (James 1:19)  A true friend listens to and takes the time to understand their friend.  Real conversation begins with active listening.

7 – Pray for them.  (James 5:16)  Not much to say here other than a true friend will bear another’s burdens through prayer.  Then let them know you have been praying.  There are few things as encouraging as a card, a text, an email or a verbal word from a friend that they have prayed for you.

8 – Point them to Jesus.  (John 3:16)  The greatest act of love for another human being is to care enough about them to share the gospel that leads to salvation with them.  Start by sharing your story, how Jesus changed your life.  Then share the gospel.  I suggest 3 Circles life conversation guide at
Pastor Chris Williams
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