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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

August 3, 2018

Friendship in the church

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

Is it possible to be a member of the church for years and not have friends in the church? Yes, that's possible. There can be several reasons for this. But one of them should not be our inaction.

You don't make friends by reading a book or a few articles about friendship and then just sit around and wait for people to become your friends. We need to initiate action, following Jesus' example.

An important prerequisite for a friendship is the willingness to communicate with another person, i.e. to open up to him. The word communicate contains the idea that you share something with someone. In this regard Jesus was the perfect example: "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15).

Even our calling is based on this principle. God "draws" us to Jesus Christ by opening us to the true meaning of His Word, Holy Scripture. In this way He communicates with us and makes it possible for us to have a relationship with Him.

How do you find out what someone is really like? Of course, you need time and patience to experience it in everyday life. But you also have to know how the person thinks, and this is revealed by his/her words. In the Bible we read: "Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out" (Proverbs 20:5).

In seeking friendship, you can talk with people about different topics, topics that reveal what someone's true self is like. What kind of people are they? Are they warm or cold? Does optimism prevail, or are they cynics? Are they selfless or selfish?

You gradually learn all this and much more when you open up to a person and then listen to what that person has to say. Jesus said: "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things" (Matthew 12:34-35). When a "mouth" talks, we should listen attentively.

The principle of the golden rule is important in friendship. Do we want people to always be or remain "buttoned up" toward us? Probably not. The reverse is also true. Consider this if you think you don't have friends in the church.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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