Lessons · Relationships

Authentic Friendship

Disclaimer : These are my notes from last week’s preaching. Aside from my notes, I will also include my own take on this topic to give a more detailed post. 😊

In our church, we are in the series entitled “Authentic” today. Lately, it’s hard for us to know if something or someone is authentic especially if they are mixed with the fake ones. But usually we learn what is fake from authentic by the littlest detail we could notice. It is not what we easily see that makes something/someone authentic but the things that are hidden and hard to notice. For today’s lesson, our pastor taught us how to have an authentic friendship towards another Christian.

Our usual problem in a group is the disagreement we usually have. Since we are all unique and we have different characters and priorities, we tend to disagree most of the time. But the question is…

Must Christians Agree on Everything? No

Photo is not mine. Credits to the owner.
Photo is not mine. Credits to the owner.

It is easy to confuse our own preferences as the one that is correct compared to others that we find different from us. We tend to focus on minor things that can cause splitting up. You see, if one in your group puts on makeup, don’t ever think that she already sins against God because she’s not the usual Christian you’re with. You don’t have any right to judge someone who looks or acts differently. 🙅 Unity is needed in any movement. That person is created by God as well. She is beautiful and there is no other thing to do but to appreciate that person and the beauty of her uniqueness.

Ways to Create Unity :

1. A – ccept one Another 

Photo is not mine. Credits to the owner.
Photo is not mine. Credits to the owner.

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. Accept means welcome into one’s home. 🏡

Example : Hair Color. It doesn’t mean that someone’s sin is defined by the color of his hair. God does not kill joy. As long as that person is obeying God, his hair color and even his hair style don’t matter. 💇

a. Stop quarreling

Romans 14:1 – Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to dispute over doubtful things.

Even though we are in the same faith, we Christians tend to disagree in many things. We should let go of these minor disagreements and prioritize relationships instead. 👭

b. Stop judging

Romans 14:3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.

If someone wears shorts in church or something more casual, that should not be the basis of who has a pure heart towards God. He might be wearing something casual but God looks in his heart. We should welcome all kinds of people in church until God speaks to him and he decides for himself on what to do best according to what God wants for him. We do not have to impose too many rules to one another. We just have to learn to love more and criticize less. 💒

When people feel accepted and loved, it will be easier to connect with them. Change of affection will lead to a change of behavior.

I can attest to this. Whenever someone makes me feel accepted, it becomes easier for me to love them back and follow what they advice me to do.

c. Stop comparing

The goal of Christianity is unity and not uniformity. We shouldn’t have the same thoughts, opinions and looks just because we are in the same group.

Example 1 : We are both Christians. Why does she have a better life than me when it fact she always sins against God? God knows better. Don’t think that another person is more blessed than you just because you counted the blessings she has and compared it to the blessings you don’t have. God has different plans for each and everyone of us. We will never have the same gifts and purposes in life. Do not hate others just because you think he/she is more blessed than you are. Stop comparing. Look and count all your blessings instead. You’ll be surprised on how many blessings you have (not just material things). 😌

Example 2 :  Churches have different practices and opinions in every situation but that doesn’t mean that we all have to do the same thing. We never have to compare because in the end, we are a family and we are supposed to accept one another. The pastor said this joke,

“You have to practice loving him now while you’re on earth instead of hating him still when you’re already in heaven.”

My Take : It is true! We’ll be with these Christians till eternity. We should practice loving them now instead of ignoring them in heaven. Or…

“forgive them now rather than spending time in hell just because you hate him.” It will never be worth it! 👿

2. B-uild one Another

We should always think about building one another whenever we do or say something to another person. 🙉🙊

Example : Posting rude posts in Facebook and use Biblical verses as basis.

Ask these

* Will it glorify God? Will God be happy if you use Facebook as a way to correct another person? Aren’t we supposed to correct the person privately and in a correct manner?

Matthew 18:15 Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.

* Will it cause anybody to stumble? If you do the correction through Facebook, what will be the effect : – Anybody who can read it might be offended and instead of being closer to that brother, he will flee from you. Instead of adding one soul, you’ll lose one. – The person who got offended may answer back to your post and do the same pass of judgment you did to him. It makes sinning a cycle instead of correcting a person and making the issue stop, the problem became an unending cycle.

* Is it a good example? Do you want other people to do the same thing to you? Of course not. And yet you still do it to others. If you want respect, be a good leader by being a good example to your followers.

In everything we do, we should ALWAYS choose LVE.

Relationships are far more important than our convictions. We need to prioritize relationships so they too may be SAVED.

There’s a couple who had a divorce just because of an argument on where to squeeze the toothpaste. Read more about it here. Our issues are becoming smaller and pettier as time goes by. We should stop agreeing to disagree. We all have our own opinions, likes, and beliefs. Let us learn to respect one another’s opinion. If it’s just a little thing, prioritize relationships over conviction. 😧

Kill your pride. Save the friendship. 😓

Photo is not mine. Credits to the owner.
Photo is not mine. Credits to the owner.

3. C-elebrate One Another I changed it from celebrate WITH one another. I prefer to use celebrate one another because it is our way to show acceptance to each other. By celebrating each other’s uniqueness, we show acceptance to one another. 🙌

Photo is not mine. Credits to the owner.
Photo is not mine. Credits to the owner.

Let’s all remember that the outsiders (non-Christians) look at us. We should show them how it feels like to be accepted and loved in our world. If gays go inside our church, should we ask them to go outside instead? Most of them are not accepted by society and sometimes their own family. 😵

If we wont accept them.. who else will?

Photo is not mine. Credits to the owner.
Photo is not mine. Credits to the owner.

An authentic Christian accepts another Christian. Isaiah 11 : 6 – The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

It is impossible for a lamb, leopard, goat, calf, lion and a fatling to be together just like how impossible it is for different personalities to live together in unity and love. It is NOW possible because a LITTLE CHILD will LEAD them. That little child is no other than Jesus. Because of Him, we can be united. Our one love for Him will bring us all together. Through unity, we can encourage more souls. 😄

If we are discouraged from our own Christian family, where will we get acceptance instead?

Let us remove the mentality that our standards are God’s standards on who will go to heaven or hell. Let’s accept others in the same way He accepted all of us.

Photo is not mine. Credits to the owner.
Photo is not mine. Credits to Pastor Ed Lapiz.

My Take : We Christians tend to think that we are the only ones who will be saved and the “others” who don’t think like us will go to hell. Only God can judge us. Authentic friendship is easier when we are an authentic person as well. Be true to yourself and accept yourself first so it would be easier for you to accept and love others.

Authenticity to others is easier when we start accepting our authentic self through the love and assurance of God.

You will know that you’re in a right group of friends when they :

1. Accept you as you are.

2. Do not insult you even in a form of sarcasm.

3. Doesn’t give an advice through a Facebook post.

4. They don’t compare themselves to you.

5. They don’t get envious but celebrate your strengths instead.

6. They empower you instead of magnifying your mistakes.

7. They don’t ask you to change yourself (unless it doesn’t glorify God anymore). They just pray for you and allow God to speak to you instead.

8. They respond to your needs and don’t ignore you.

9. A right group doesn’t create a standard that you have to live up to.

10. Friends are supposed to lift you up and never pull you down for their own sake.

Did someone reject you from church? Did someone make you feel unaccepted and unloved? I want to pray for you :

Lord, we pray for this reader today. I pray that he will forgive the people who hurt him and made him feel unaccepted. Comfort him with Your love and by Your grace, help him to forgive and remember the hurt no more. I pray Father that this reader will find true friends in the future. Friends that will help him become a better version of himself and friends who will help him grow physically, emotionally and spiritually. Lead him to that group of friends that he’s supposed to be with. Thank You Father, amen. 🙏

If you think you are guilty of making someone feel unaccepted because of your actions and the things you said, please pray with me :

Lord, please forgive me for hurting (name of friend). Help me to love him more and learn to accept our differences. Please teach me how to understand our unique personalities and appreciate the differences we have in church. Let me value friendship before disagreements. Teach me not to compare myself from him so we may both grow deeper in Your love. Thank You Lord for (name of friend). I commit to accept him and bring him closer to You everyday. In Jesus name, amen. 🙏

Do you want to be in a group of friends that will bring you closer to God? Like 👍 700 Club and Victory‘s Facebook page and send them a message so they can help you how to have a deeper relationship with God through a local church.

Have you been bullied before? How do you cope up from bullying? Read more about it here.

Do you have trust issues? Read more about it here.

Want to forgive your enemies? Read more about it here.

Are you married? Who should follow who? Read more about it here.

Do you feel empty inside? Read more about it here.

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