When I was in the Seminary, I had three roommates. I have never been closer to any other men here on earth. We were like brothers.
Have you ever had anybody like that in your life? They aren’t related to you, but they are family.
Family has your back. Family stick by you when no one else will. Family will take your side when others come at you, no matter what.
It’s wonderful to have family like that, but we all need at least one friend.
A friend is different than family. Like family, a friend will love you and stand by your side. A friend, however, will also tell you what you don’t want to hear. A friend will tell you when you’re wrong. A friend will push you to be a better person.
It’s wonderful to have family who support you, but a true friend is a gift of God.
A friend doesn’t enable you to do bad things. A friend doesn’t silently sit by and watch you hurt yourself or others. A friend doesn’t encourage you to get drunk. A friend doesn’t help you get away with things at work or school or in your marriage.
A friend tells you when you’ve had too much. A friend takes away your keys. A friend encourages you to work thinks out with your wife.
A friend will risk your friendship if it means helping you.
A true friend will always take you back to Jesus. If you don’t believe in God or are slowly sliding away from your faith, a friend won’t stand idly by. Though you may not want to hear it – though it may mean losing your friendship – a friend will always try to help you see Jesus and what he did to save you.
A friend won’t let you blindly wander down the road to hell without saying anything.
That’s what we so often forget. If we truly believe what the Bible says – if faith in Jesus is the only way to be saved from the hell we all deserve – how can we not say anything? No friend would knowingly let their friend go to hell.
So that means having the tough conversations. It means inviting them to church. It means praying for them and being an example of faith and love in their lives.
This coming Sunday at our church we will have our annual Bring-a-Friend Sunday. Every year, we have at least one special Sunday in which we encourage our members to invite a friend, a family member or an acquaintance to go to church with them.
Honestly, though, you don’t need a special Sunday to invite a friend to church. If they don’t know or believe in Jesus, if they have gotten away from God or church, what are you waiting for? You never know when it will be too late.
So have that conversation. Invite them to church. That’s what a friend does.