Relat(able) - week 4

The Friend Everyone Longs For

Conversation point:

  • Who was your best friend when you were growing up? What characteristics and qualities did you admire about them?

All of us have in our minds a mental picture of the kinds of friends we want- we know what type of people we want around us in life. But far too often we spend all our time and energy looking for that kind of friend instead of working on becoming that kind of friend.

Life always begin with becoming rather than finding. In all of our special relationships- dating, marriage, friendship- it’s more about becoming the person God wants us to be rather than finding the right person for our lives.

Conversation point:

  • What are a few ways that you are a good friend? How might you be a draining friend?

Romans 12 is one of the more practical passages on relationships in the entire New Testament. Take a moment to read verses 9-21 as a group. Out of this passage flow six concepts that, when applied to our lives, make us a great friend:

A one-faced friend (vs 9)

For us to become the person we want our friends to be, the first challenge is to become a “one-faced friend,” with no hidden agendas. “Two-faced” friends say what they think others want to hear because they long for acceptance. Sincerity, genuineness, and lack of hypocrisy are trademarks of a faithful friend.

A de-escalator of conflict (vs 9-10)

The second challenge for us is to be friends who extinguish evil and celebrate good. Most relationships that go sideways start down that road through a series of little things that grow into big things. We want to be the kind of friends who do not allow small things to escalate into relationship-breaking events, but instead look to restore relationships without personal gain.

One who is open-handed, generous, and hospitable (vs 13)

Our third challenge is to be friends who share what we have with those who are hurting and in need. We want to be the kind of friends who move into action when tough times come. That is one of the core elements of Home Groups- to be there for people and to know people are there for us.

One who rises above the fray (vs 14, 17, 19-21)

The fourth challenge is to be friends who choose to politely decline the invitation to get into an argument and instead go about our business. We don't have to show up to every fight we’re invited to! We have the freedom and ability to choose to withdraw from conflict. We can’t make anything right in our power… but God can.

One who is there for others during the good times and the bad (vs 15-16)

The fifth challenge is to be friends who “float freely” between being there for the party as well as being there for rock bottom. “Front runner” friends, who are only present when life is good, are only around because there is something in it for them. We want to be the kind of friends who are the steady constant in the ups and downs of life, because we have a God-sized view of humanity, and we seek the dignity of all people.

A peacemaker (vs 18)

The sixth challenge is to be friends who- as far as it depends on us- lives at peace with others. Paul wisely points out that this isn’t always possible- reconciliation requires both parties. While we might not have peace with that person, we can have peace toward that person- and then we are at peace.

Conversation points:

  • Which of these 6 points resonate with you the most? Which one is the hardest for you right now?
  • What is one thing you want God to do within you to make you the kind of friend everyone longs for?

Deeper Dive

If you or your group wish to further explore this week’s topic:

  1. Read and reflect on the following passages that speak of God’s love and approval of us: Psalm 86:15; Matthew 6:25-34; Romans 8:37-39; and Ephesians 2:4-5. How can a better understanding of God’s love empower us to be “one-faced” friends?
  2. Read and discuss the insights from Drew Brown in his article, [“What Keeps Us from Having Deeper Friendships”] (http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/what-keeps-us-having-deeper-friendships)