Man was designed for friendship–with God and with other people. In the beginning, these friendships would have been based on upon total trust and fidelity. Think of the wonder of the whole planet being united in dependence, submission, relationship and purpose. That would be nothing short of joy on the earth.
But as you know, because of the Fall, we will have to wait for heaven to see that reality fully worked out. We see only glimpses now of what could have been in our human relationships, and we live with the reality of just how tragic and destructive human relationships have become. Despite these obstacles, people are still looking for friendship. But without God, friendship is sought for selfish ends. Without God people seek friendships that affirm independence, avoid criticism, and honor acceptance above all else. You see this formula leaves out the one thing that makes the difference: sacrificial love.
So it is no surprise to read in James 4:4 that friendship without God makes you an enemy of God. Yes, we are designed for friendship. But for human friendships to be truly successful, God must be your first and best friend. If the search for friends is pursued for selfish ends, even with good intent, bitterness and brokenness result. A common theme today is disappointment with people. Someone is always letting someone else down. Bitterness characterizes relationships. We were made for friendship—but since the Fall, the only way to find true friendship is to know Jesus Christ. Jesus said as much in John 15:15:
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Where are you looking for friendship? Do you look to people first or to God? Friendship–it is a simple and profound pursuit, one that is common to all of mankind. Help your children understand that true friendship is first based upon being a friend of Jesus Christ.
The stories of broken friendships dominate our music, our literature, our culture. The truth is that only in God can we know true friendship. Asking people to provide only what can flow from God leads to disappointment, hurt and frustration. But because of the death of Christ and his commitment to bring us new life, friendship that endures and heals can be a wonderful reality.