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Value of Friendship 

“We should hang out sometime. We really should keep in touch.”   

Conversations like these are often when we realize that a once-vibrant friendship is faltering. Circumstances have changed, and as much as we speak of the desire, neither of us is willing to go out of our way to maintain the relationship. But while it can be challenging and at times inconvenient, it is important for young women to invest in friendships with our sisters in Christ for encouragement and accountability.  

There is an increasing trend toward undervaluing friendships. A large part of this comes from the world’s influence. With the rise of social media and its acceleration during the COVID years, more and more of our “friendships” have become virtual and, generally, shallower. Barely-there friendships that consist of admiring and complimenting each other’s photos and debating hot topics from the distance of our smartphone screens don’t give us a compelling image of friendship. This friendship is neither satisfying nor edifying, so friendship itself doesn’t seem valuable.  

Our friendships are also under attack when the world tells us that the only valuable relationships are romantic. In a world where all types of promiscuity are celebrated, there is no room for deep, heart-to-heart communication without physical intimacy. As women, we are especially susceptible to this attack. We seek emotional attachment and are told over and over that we can find it only in dating. We may not follow the world’s pattern of dating, but we still believe the lie that tells us friendships with other women aren’t very important. The value of marriage does not negate the value of friendships, and married women still need woman friends.  

Attacks on friendship intensify as we transition to college and the workplace. College years tend to be the most self-centered years of our lives. My focus is myself and all the money, time, and effort I am pouring into making myself a better, more career-ready person. This leaves little space for the time and effort required for maintaining strong, godly friendships. The fellowship with other Christians that was almost automatic during our years in Christian schools now takes conscious, intentional effort to maintain. I know that when I was in college, I figured that studying hard and getting good grades was my priority, and that having a “social life” was a nice idea if I ever found the time. The result was that I spent many hours of my week with worldly classmates and coworkers, and very few with fellow believers. While I’m not suggesting you slack off in school or call in “sick” to hang out with your friends at the mall, I am asking that you reevaluate your estimation of godly friendships, especially those with your sisters in Christ.  

With all the push toward isolation, we need to recognize the importance of friendships with other sisters in Christ. Friends bring each other encouragement for the challenging race that is the Christian life. When David was fleeing from Saul, he certainly became discouraged, and by his own power would have despaired and given up. One of the means that God used to encourage him was his friend Jonathan, who “strengthened his hand in God” (1 Sam. 23:16). We all know how overwhelming the trials and temptations can be for a young woman seeking to walk a godly path in this dark world. How valuable it then is if we can use our own experiences to strengthen each other’s hands in God, sharing the wisdom we’ve learned and the words of Scripture that have comforted us in our own time of need.  

Friends also bring accountability. Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 says, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” When we try to direct our lives independently, even with the best intentions, our wisdom often fails us, and we go astray. Social media, even on the “Christian side,” can fill our minds with life advice that seems persuasive and appealing. We need the reality check from our sisters in Christ who can recognize for us the “way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12.) As we seek a godly spouse, we need friends to recognize when we are behaving foolishly in a relationship, and to fill the void of lonely singleness that can tempt us to seek a relationship outside of the boundaries God has set.  

To know what friendship looks like, we have a perfect example in our God. From all eternity Jehovah is a covenant God, first of all embodying true friendship within himself in the Trinity. Father, Son, and Spirit share perfect communion and fellowship. This friendship extends to us as God’s covenant people. God chose to love such unlovable and unfriendly people as we are, and Christ made it possible through the cross for sinners like us to have fellowship with our holy God. Here he also exemplified the greatest love, that of one who lays down his life for his friends (John 15:13). We can now experience the benefits of this friendship: Christ encourages us in his word, shows us our sin by his Spirit, and draws us ever closer to our God in covenant fellowship.  

This means that even when we do find ourselves friendless or alone, we have our one perfect Friend. When our friends on earth disappoint us, sin against us, and forsake us, we find in Christ both the solace for our sorrow and the power to forgive as we have been forgiven. And we have one to turn to in prayer, who has the power to direct our paths to those of our sisters in Christ so that we may once again enjoy the communion of the saints with each other.  

Lorraine is a registered nurse in Redlands, CA, and is a member of Hope (Redlands) Protestant Reformed Church.