Editor’s Note: I just wanted to add a hearty amen to the  conclusion of this series. I think that if we’re honest with ourselves we can all agree that these writings were excellent. I want to highly encourage you to read this in its entirety. It is a message that is very needful today in a world where relationships aren’t important. That is not how Jesus called us to live. Let me add that Rachel Marie lives every word that she “preaches”. Please read and be encouraged. Love everyone that comes into your life, and make peace with the ones who have hurt you. Life is short: Let love last long. 

♥ BrittneyLeigh

by Rachel Marie

“A true friend warms you by their presence,
trusts you with their secrets,
and remembers you in their prayers.”

In the first portion of this series (What is Friendship?–parts I, II, III, IV), we mainly focused on a Christ-like response to what I have described as “false-friends.” In this part, I think you’ll be able to relax quite a bit; for although many of the same key elements needed for you to be a true friend back to a false friend are the same as those needed for two true friends to maintain a sweet friendship, putting them into practice is much easier.

I began with the need for forgiveness and love toward our fellow human beings, even when they do not see their wrong, because it is only after that that we may continue first in sweet fellowship first with God, and next with the Body of Christ.

“For if ye forgive men their tresspasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their tresspasses, neither will your Father forgive your tresspasses.”
Matthew 6:14&15

“So likewise shall My Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their tresspasses.”
Matthew 18:35

“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in Heaven may forgive you your tresspasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your tresspasses.”
Mark 11:25&26

“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:”
Luke 6:26

After that peace has been made, fellowship with Christ, and finally, fellowship with those around you who truly love you and care about you can be the next thing to heavenly bliss. I cannot stress enough the vitality of making your peace with God first and foremost, and then with your fellowman. The apostle Paul tells us in 12:18,

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

We know from studying the life and words of our Lord Jesus that it is “possible.” Romans 12 is a beautiful chapter to look at in light of relationships. I encourage you to do your own study on the mind of Christ concerning relationships with those in the body of Christ, by reading that chapter. “Overcome evil with good.”

So what really makes up a true and Christ-centered friendship, anyhow?

Well, I believe that first of all, a friendship that will stand the test of time and of difficulty must be founded upon the love of Jesus.
Standing firmly on that Solid Rock you will still have to brave the storms, but you will not lose your footing.

This truth is the most important one of all, as it concerns all relationships: Family, Friends, Spouse, Neighbor, Co-worker, and even Enemy relations will be transformed, if we abide by the changeless truth that Christ is the Solid Rock, the Love upon which all other loves must be based, and the Hope of Eternity.

I believe that just as love is needed to develop, maintain, and strengthen a friendship, or any relationship for that matter, honesty is also very vital.

We must be willing to be open, to be sincere, and to be genuine. If you’re struggling, share your struggles. If you’re offended, tell the one who offended you so. If your conscience convicts of that you’ve wronged another person, go to that person and confess your wrong and ask for forgiveness. If the Lord is leading you to speak words of encouragement and insight to a struggling brother or sister, then by all means do so! Be who you are. Be yourself. Really, be honest.

I cannot begin to explain what great joy and comfort it has been to me when a dear friend in Christ cared enough about me to be very honest and frank, and share the truth with me when I needed to hear it! God knows that I may not be the same person today if it weren’t for those dear people out there who heard God’s voice say, “Share the truth with her,” and obeyed that voice. I thank God daily for the people who He’s brought into my life that I can not only be open and honest with myself, but can likewise be open and honest with me. If you’ve been blessed with friends as these, you understand what I’m talking about. This kind of friendship is a very beautiful, refreshing thing.

Truth. Honesty. Humility.

Three characteristics that cannot be apart from a genuine friendship/relationship. Without those character qualities, you can easily paint a fine picture of falsehood, and one completely void of the love of Jesus.

By cultivating a deep, vibrant relationship with Jesus, the Friend of friends, and soaking in His love, it will be impossible for you not to be a pure reflection of the perfect Friend Who demonstrates perfect Love.

Rachel Marie is a sweet young lady who loves the Lord with all her heart. She is keenly interested in the study of biblical womanhood and authored a well-noted article, Just a Girl Through & Through. Along with her gift of writing, her hobbies also include photography, flowers, sewing and a host of other avenues she uses to vent her creativity. Her heart beat is missions with a particular love for China.