Thursday, January 6, 2011


My grown son's recent Facebook status got me to thinking about friends and friendship. My son is a Christian, and he is a very social guy with lots of friends, both Christian and non-Christian. In fact, I believe he has so many friends because he is a true friend himself. He is loyal to his friends, and accepts them for who they are. In a recent post he expressed joy for his friends, and then stated something surprising for a Christian to say when he said, "especially my non-Christian friends as they are the greatest." Now, I know his Christian friends, and they are true believers whom he loves dearly. In fact, many of them are my dearest friends, and they are true friends. And I know some of his non-Christian friends, too--a great bunch of young people. But my son is not the first Christian I know to express such feelings. I find that young people especially (and I'm talking about faithful, God-loving Christians) sometimes seem to be more comfortable around their non-Christian friends than their Christian friends. Why is that? And is there something we can learn here? On the other hand, can it be said that the sweetest friendships for a Christian are among his or her Christian brothers and sisters?

Do non-Christians really make better friends? As I suggested to my son in my Facebook response, it may seem so because often unbelievers are more real and accepting, less judgmental. I think this is especially true when it comes to being real. As Christians, we have a very high standard to live up to: Jesus Christ who is perfect. And sometimes we go around acting like we actually live up to that standard. While we all acknowledge that none of us are perfect, we often act like we are, or at least nearly so. That is, while we all admit that we sin, we don't want anyone to know which ones. So we put on a face, especially in church. We pretend to have it all together, when inside or behind close doors we may be really struggling. We seldom talk about our own personal struggles or failings, because we don't want anyone to know. And from what I've gathered, very few Christians have anyone in their life that they are completely open with or with whom they can go to with their deepest struggles. And so if you crave being real, you just might be more comfortable around those who make no profession to follow Jesus.

On the other hand (am I starting to sound like Tevye?), maybe non-Christians aren't any more real than Christians. Maybe they just have less to hide, since they are not trying to live up to such a high standard. If you are not a follower of Jesus, I'd really like to hear from you on this. What do you think?

In my experience, after 31 years as a Christian, I can say that my Christian friends do accept me for who I am. Some of them know my failings all too well, maybe even better than I do, yet they still love me. But they offer me at least one thing that no one else does: while they accept me for who I am, they challenge me to be better. They accept me but hold me accountable. They encourage me to grow, to change, in fact to be more "real" as a Christian by "really" trying to live like Jesus. And are they real? I think so. At least as real as I am. And I can't ask anymore than that of anyone.


  1. Good question. One issue that non-Christians can not do very well for Christians is to encourage them to love the church and their fellow believers. Unfortunately, outside of the gospels, we don't see Christians writing about their strugges and doubts although Paul writes to Christian who are struggling.


  2. I'm posting this for a reader who was unable to get it to post:

    Randy, a very good Sunday morning to you. You mentioned your son having friends that are not Christians, that he seems to enjoy being around and associated with better than he does
    being around his brethren in Christ. And he and you were wondering if non-Christians were more agreeable and easier to get along with than with Christians? And should we not desire
    to be associated with such people, who seem to be much more agreeable and easier to associate with than our own brethren in Christ?

    It is a possibility that we enjoy being with non-Christians and enjoy their company more than we do our own brethren. It seems that the question is: "should we be like this, to t he point of desiring non-Christian company more than we do the company of our own brethren in Christ?

    It is indicated by the inspired apostle Paul and others that we prefer to be with our own brethren than with the people of the world. We are told to do good to all men, "especially those of the household of faith." We are also warned that evil companionship corrupts good morals. We are told to desire the company of the "children of light" more than the "children of darkness." It matters not how morally good, and agreeable, our non-Christian friends might be, they are still unclean because they have not been washed in the blood of the Lamb to become children of God. If they are blinded to the point of not seeing the need to be born again Christians, then to follow with them and
    prefer their company, is to follow the blind and therefore fall into the ditch with them. Cornelius was a good man that even the
    Jews respected and enjoyed his company to a certain degree seemingly, but he was told to send to Joppa and fetch Peter so that he might tell him words whereby he might be saved. It doesn't matter how much we enjoy the company of non-Christians, we are still obligated to try our very best to convert them to Christ. If we prefer their company to the point that we will not try to convert them, we are allowing our friendship to get in the way of doing our duty toward them. Such people, even though we enjoy their company, are still not walking in the light as Christ and Christians are in the light. So, they are not to be our preferred associates, in contrast to our brethren in Christ. It doesn't matter if we enjoy their company or not, they are still not to be preferred above our own brethren in Christ. We are told to "seek first the kingdom of Christ" the ones making up that kingdom. So, to a certain extent we can be associated with people of the world, but not to the extent of preferring their company rather than, or more than we do our own brethren in Christ. Is
    this not so? ----------- Jim Sasser

  3. To love our neighbor, Christian or Non-Christian is the highest endeavor possible after loving God. It is what God calls us to do. Mt 22:39 and Lk 10:30-37 Leading someone to Christ is the greatest act of love possible Christian to Non-Christian. Yet many non-saved don't want to be a notch in our Bible, or just a number. "That's 3 so far this year"
    We often win them by loving them and letting them see and experience Christ through us.
    It is right in God's sight to establish friendships outside the church.

    1 Cor 5:9-11 9. I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous..."

    If we make friends with non-disciples why not do it with a positive attitude and enjoy it as much as possible?

    Still I agree with Mr. Sasser and would state it this way: If we do not make an effort to bring them to the Lord, we do not truly love (agape) them. Secondly, God's warnings in Proverbs and other scriptures make it clear that the possible danger to our own soul is very real when we prefer the non-saved. What Christian has not seen someone leave the Lord because of the infuence of non-Christian friends.

    Love God,follow his teachings and He will give us the proper balance.--Mike Brenneman