The biggest problem we have when it comes to friendship is we think friendship is about us rather than other people.
Paul who wrote the book of Philippians knew the difference. Friendship and community were not for himself, but about other people and it’s also about a mission. So, Paul viewed his friendships and his relationships with these two components – other people and mission.
First, we have to be about the purposes of God.
Second, it’s about other people.
This is friendship.
When we go to our friends looking for them to help us solve our problems, this often becomes a big barrier to healthy friendships and relationships. To the professionals and experts, they have a big clinical term for this – co-dependency. And this kind of friendship will become destructive in the end.
When we go to people to have them solve our problems or we go to them to help them solve their problems, instead of helping each other go to God first, we end up disappointed.
You see, when God is at the centre of our friendships and relationships, conflict can be managed. People can disappoint us. We can hurt other people. But we know how to process our emotions and forgiveness is not withheld because we aren’t looking for our identity, hope or purpose in the other person.
We don’t look at people to fulfil us. Rather we look to God and realize God has built a community to be a picture of Him. This picture means loving people even when they disappoint us and even when they disagree with us and when there are fighting and division, we work through it. This love is based on the cross and death to ourselves. When we get this right, things will make sense and start to work.
Rather than going into a community and looking for what others can give us, expecting others to fulfil us, we instead go into the community looking at how we can love them better, and how we can point them to Christ. This changes the whole foundation of friendship, not like how the culture does friendship.