The best BFF is one who will help you pick a life time of good ones!
“A person who has friends may be harmed by them, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 (NET Bible)
Many of the children grow up in the church only to leave it as adults. Those who are true believers will return but what set them up to leave in the first place. So much lost time in lives wasted on frivolous friendship with the world. Can it be prevented? I think so.
God created us in His image and because of that great gift we have the need for and ability to live in community. Friendships shape us; to the degree that we trust ourselves to another is the degree to which we give them the right to shape our thinking. If we want the children in our care to truly understand friendship the way God intended then they need to know what He says about it.
The most ideal friendship and love relationship that we have modeled for us in His Word is the love of God in the Trinity. These passages have much to say on the subject: John 17; Matthew 12:31-33; Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10; Jn. 14:26 These verses talk about how Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are perfectly one in unity. They are so complete in their purpose, unity and love that they co-exist as three persons to make our one God. Our Triune God is complete and whole without us but He welcomes us into this unique unity of community with the Trinity. He made us to experience that unity and community with Him and with each other. Unity and community are the essence of true friendship.
The Bible says: “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love. By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:7-11 (NET Bible)
Friendship is a special trust of self, placed inside a give and take relationship, that is expected to be mutual and safe. It is our job to teach our children the art of making friends while guarding their hearts as they do. Not everyone can be a trusted friend. We want our children to be friendly toward others without becoming close friends with those who aren’t safe.
Sadly, as we encourage our children to make friends to win them to Christ, we can create confusion. They do not know how to protect their hearts yet from the lies of God’s enemy. It is our job to help them understand the difference between acquaintances who are friends that are different in their beliefs from us and deep friends we call our Christian family. Even in the church not everyone is to be trusted. It is a learned art to know in whom we can invest because they need our kindness without allowing their friendship to shape us more than our friendship with Jesus. He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. His friendship is our most valuable.
The bottom line is that our children first need to place their complete trust and faith in Jesus. They need to learn the core value of that most important friendship of all. When they understand how valuable the gift of God's friendship is, then their faith and trust in Jesus will be something too valuable to trade in for lesser things.
Our children need to understand as they consider each new friendship that trust is not just some abstract bit of confidence, it is in strong measure like gift wrapping and then offering their very self to be shaped by another’s words, actions, and beliefs. The greater they value their relationship and unity with God holding it firmly as the only truly safe and trustworthy friendship the less likely they will be to trade it away for the sake of the lesser things this world has to offer.