Deeper, selfless friendship is possible but we can't love others well unless we first love God well. If we are secure in Christ then we can take the risk of being real with others. The idea of true friendship drives us once again back to the cross and resurrection of Christ. On our own we are in trouble but with others who are familiar with their own sin and who have found the grace and wisdom of God, life can be different. It is in the grace of God that we can accept our strengths with humility and our weaknesses with grace. We can risk being real with others because we are already unconditionally loved by Christ.
Look at these examples to see how the gospel affects how we relate with others.
If we are not already familiar with our sin and the forgiveness that we have received through Christ then we will judge others for their faults and be tempted to walk away in self-righteousness and disgust. Result, short-lived friendships.
If we are not secure in Christ’s all-knowing, unconditional love for us then we will lack the courage to be transparent and authentic with others. We will still be searching for approval and be afraid of judgment and humiliation. We will only say or do what makes them happy. Result, superficial friendships with no intimacy or trust.
If we are not secure in Christ and the value and grace that He has already given us, we will not be able to accept other’s words of tough love which help to make us better people. Instead of “hearing words of truth and love” we will defensively hear them as “words of condemnation.” Result, we will be defensive and others will cease to speak truth to us. We will be offended easily and leave friendships that cause us discomfort.
If we do not believe in the transforming power of Jesus Christ then we will not have the perseverance to work through problem times that often eventually result in truly great friendships.
In the safety of God’s grace express on the cross we can thrive in the best and worst of relationships to gradually refine our character. We can relate with others on a deeper level that will bring richness to our lives and actually bear the image of God to others.