Many of us have friends that we absolutely love to death and would do just about anything for. They’ve been with us through many seasons and are practically like family to us. We can’t ever see ourselves parting ways with them because they’ve almost become a part of us. Now there’s nothing wrong with any of this, God created friendships for many great reasons such as growth, edification, and companionship. Friendships are an awesome thing, especially when they are specifically put together by God. The problem begins when we start loving our friends more than we love God.
Now when most of us hear this we immediately say, “Of course I don’t love my friends more than I love God! I love God more than anything and anyone!” …Do you really? The past few weeks God has been placing this topic heavy on my heart. There are too many Christians who are afraid to rebuke/correct their friends. They can discern everything from what God is going to do in your life 10 years from now to what the weather will be like next week but when it comes time to discern sin in one of their friends’ life, suddenly they can’t discern anything anymore.
If God tells you to correct your friend about something will you quickly do it or will you brush it off because you don’t want to offend them and don’t want to ruin your friendship? What many people don’t realize is that they are more faithful to their friends than they are to Christ. If their friend goes left, they go left right along with them instead of correcting/rebuking them. Their friendship then becomes an ungodly connection, because they don’t display the characteristics of God in it. God is Love, and “love rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:8) so if your friend does ungodly things your job is to quickly tell them the truth about their actions in love. This is what Christ would have you to do.
The reason many people find themselves in this situation is because they have a people-pleasing spirit. They would much rather please their friend than they would God. Galatians 1:10 says, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” They aren’t concerned about being servants of Christ; they value their friend more than they value God and His word and want to be down with everyone else more than with God. But what they fail to realize is that the blood of that friend is now on their hands! They will be held accountable by God for not steering that person away from unrighteousness. Jesus Christ didn’t die for us to be afraid to tell people the truth. The apostles went through great opposition to spread the gospel in the early church days, and today we can’t even tell a friend that they are going left because we’re afraid that they will stop being our friend. We can’t be wimpy Christians! A lot of us want to preach to the nations but how are we going to do that when we can’t even give simple truths to those closest to us. God can’t trust us if we can’t tell them the truth.
As you continue to hang around those you withhold the truth from you will eventually begin to adopt the sin(s) that you won’t confront. Yeah, you didn’t warn them about their sin when God told you to warn them, but you’re also going to start doing what they do because “a little leaven leavens the whole lump (Galatians 5:9).” What/who you hang out with is what you will eventually become; they will begin to rub off on you. If you hang out with rebellious people, you will become rebellious. If you hang out with gossipers, you will become a gossiper. If you hang out with flirtatious people, you will become flirtatious. “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’.”(1 Corinthians 15:33) [Now don’t get me wrong, God will pair you up with some people to help them come up higher in areas they struggle with and vice versa, but there’s a big difference between that and just chilling with these people without helping them or correcting them at all]. If my best friend decides to go left today (turn from Christ and start living for herself), guess what? As a friend who loves her, I will rebuke her. If she doesn’t take heed to it I CAN NO LONGER WALK WITH HER as a best friend. Yes I still love her and I’ll check up on her from time to time, but we CANNOT be best buds anymore. “HOW CAN TWO WALK TOGETHER UNLESS THEY AGREE?” (Amos 3:3) The enemy knows some of you are more tight with your friend than you are with Christ so he’ll use your friend to get you to go astray! (I’ve seen this with my own two eyes). So ask yourself, is your friend worth your salvation or your walk with Christ??
It’s time to come up higher, how will we as believers have any influence on the world if we can’t even influence those closest to us. If these people choose to cut you off or treat you differently because you uphold a standard, then thank God for getting rid of them for you, they don’t really love God like they say they do. Pray for them, but let them go. For some of you reading this, your problem may not be telling your friends the truth; your problem may be confronting family members or even co-workers. When the Lord leads you to tell someone something, you have to go. You can’t move in fear, you never know when that person’s last day may be and God could be using you to save their soul because their time is short. “My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)
So I urge you to be bold and really love God more than you love other people. Uphold God’s truths more than you uphold any earthly relationship. He takes record of every time you deny Him by putting others before Him. He has been faithful to you, so remain faithful to Him.
“But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven”. (Matthew 10:33)
**Other Bible verses about this topic:
“Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue.”(Proverbs 28:23)
“Better is open rebuke Than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”(Proverbs 27:5-6)