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“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.”
– Jesus in John 15:13

One’s friend.

Do you approach friendship this way?? It seems friendship has become a lost art, not valued in the way it should be.

In the church, it seems John 15:13 is instead imagined to state: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s spouse/family.”

Of course, family is important but it has been idolized in the church. Some of us see this more clearly than others. Even good things can become idolatrous.

Jesus was single. Consider some of the “interesting” interactions Jesus had involving his family! For example, Matthew 12:46-50. Truly, as Christian believers, we are children of God and become a part of God’s family. These bonds are unique and eternal. (Biological or family bonds in this life may or may not be eternal, depending on whether family members have trusted Christ as Savior.)

Consider 1 Corinthians 13, which is often thought of as about weddings and marital love. No. No. No. In context, it has nothing to do with weddings and marriage – but about relationships within the church. “It is not peculiar that in writing the greatest discourse on love found in the New Testament, Paul chooses to put it, not with his discussion of marriage in 1 Corinthians 7 (here love is not even mentioned), but in the context of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 13!” – quote from here.

I’ve blogged before on friendship, and don’t want to rehash content, so for this brief post I’d urge you to contemplate the role friendship plays in your life.

  • Have you idolized marriage, family, parenthood?
  • Has friendship and fellowship with other believers been neglected and downgraded?
  • Maybe you need to say no (gasp!) to certain family activities, and spend time with a friend instead?
  • How can you be a better friend? How can you cultivate friendship in your life?
  • How can you live a better “one another” life in the church?

One final thought…

Consider that not everyone has the large -or- close family that you do! Some families are small – someone can be an only child, and without many cousins or aunts/uncles. Family ties can sadly be broken, and estrangement is more common than some realize. People can die young, leaving someone lacking what would normally be a key family relationship. So when family is idolized and friendship downgraded, where does this leave such folks?