Are all friendships equal? Do Christian friendships have an edge over your other friendships? Author Beth Hicks weighs in on the uniqueness of Christian friendships and how you can benefit from them.
4word: What led you to become a Christian author?
Beth: I became a Christian author a few years ago after I went through a major life transition. Life is full of transitions, of course, but this one required that I find a renewed purpose in my life.
It started with a visit to the emergency room, and a diagnosis for my husband of cancer – stage four. It had metastasized, and its spread meant there was nothing that we could do except head home for hospice care. He died in my arms five days later, on Christmas Eve of 2012.
While dealing with the shock and sadness, I held onto something that my husband had told me before he passed: ”You have a wonderful family and Christian friends. You will be fine.”
That message got me thinking: how did I get so fortunate as to have such loyal Christian friends, and what made their friendships unique? I turned to the Bible for answers, and out of that came my first book, and my new purpose in sharing my faith with others.
4word: In your first book, “The Importance of Christian Friendships,” you write about what sets friendships with other Christians apart from other friendships. What are some tips you can offer to others looking for such friendships?
Beth: For starters, the old adage that “the best way to have a friend is to be one” is certainly true. Yet there are some things that the Bible encourages us to practice when we reach out to others. I would like to briefly mention two traits that we should foster in our friendships.
The first is not being judgmental. Unfortunately, many Christians forget this and are the first to point fingers at one another. However, Christians should remember that we are all sinners, as it says in Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Loving and constructive guidance is one thing; looking down on the person is another. I know I don’t want others to judge me, so I try to not judge them! Fortunately, I don’t have to; God is the ultimate judge, and that lets me off the hook from being both judge and jury.
The second trait is learning to rely on God, and not complain. Christians strive to be content no matter what their current circumstances may be by focusing on Romans 8:28 – “For we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.” Circumstances will change, so reminding each other that God is in charge and is faithful goes a long way toward getting through the tough times.
4word: How did your recent book, “Finding Freedom in God’s Promises” flow from your first book?
Beth: After I wrote my last book, “The Importance of Christian Friendships: In Good Times and in Bad,” I began to think about how many of the attributes of Christian friendships can lead to the fulfillment of God’s promises.
I don’t know if you have ever tried to count how many promises there are in the Bible – it is almost impossible to enumerate! Yet that did not dissuade me. I began to turn to the Bible and meditate on some of the more significant promises. Then I began to ask myself, just how would my life be different if I truly believed God’s promises? What if we all believed God’s promises, and acted accordingly?
I became convinced that if we have faith, and if we believe in God’s character, that we can then accept that He is who He says He is. It is then just a short step to knowing that He will do what He says He will do, and we can trust in His promises.
4word: How can Christians find freedom in God’s promises?
Beth: In my latest book, “Finding Freedom in God’s Promises,” I examine many ways in which we can find freedom in God’s promises for us. I would like to conclude with two amazing promises.
The first is freedom from condemnation – John 4:17 – “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (NIV) Instead of feeling condemned, we can accept God’s mercy. He not only forgives, he forgives, and literally wipes the slate clean. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, even Christians.
The second is freedom from fear – Isaiah 41:10 – “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV) Over and over again in the Bible, we are told to “fear not.” Instead of fear, we are called to experience God’s protection, and be amazed at his love for us.
In the end, I would like to encourage everyone with the reminder that we can find strength and comfort not only in Christian friendships, but also in God’s promises to all of us.
Who would you count as good Christian friends in your life? Do you have any? Learn from Beth’s wisdom and surround yourself with Godly friendships!
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Beth Gable Hicks, author of “The Importance of Christian Friendships” and “Finding Freedom in God’s Promises,” is a member of The Falls Church Anglican in Falls Church, Virginia and serves on the Altar Guild and Pastoral Care teams. A native Kentuckian, she was a political appointee during the administrations of George H Bush and George W Bush, and is currently the East Coast lead for AllSides, Inc. She earned her B.A. in Business Administration from Vanderbilt University, her MPA from George Mason University, and is currently working on a Masters in Theology from Liberty University Online. She is an active member of the DC DAR, and when she is not traveling or visiting family and friends, she resides in McLean, Virginia.