11 Ways to Build Better Relationships

Connecting With Our God-Given Friends

By Charles F. Stanley
  • October 09, 2016

Friendships come in a variety of forms ranging from casual to intimate. Casual friendships are plentiful and arise quickly, but intimate friends are few in number, and the relationship takes longer to develop. A great relationship like Jonathan and David’s (as described in 1 Samuel 18:1-7) doesn’t usually happen automatically but demands something from us. Strong, healthy relationships require:

  1. Time. No relationship—whether it’s with a friend, spouse, or child—will flourish without the investment of our time in their lives.

  2. Talking. Every friendship is founded upon two-way communication.

  3. Tears and laughter. A genuinely open relationship requires sharing of both our joys and sorrows. We’d prefer that it all be laughter, but true friendships include hurt, pain, and tears.

  4. Triumphs. We should be as excited about our friends’ accomplishments and victories as we are about our own. These are times to commend them for a job well done and rejoice with them.

  5. Trials. Every relationship goes through trials and disappointments. However, troubles can be diminished when we learn to relate to others in a selfless, caring manner.

  6. Thankfulness. We should always thank the Lord for blessing us with good friendships; however, we also need to express gratitude to our friends. Saying “thank you” should come readily and sincerely to our lips for anything they do for us. And when they need our help, we should be grateful for the privilege of meeting their need.

  7. Thoughtfulness. Being thoughtful requires that we think about the other person, not just about ourselves. It flows from our love and concern and can be manifested in a variety of ways—a note, a call, a gift, or a visit—depending on our friend’s need or circumstance.

  8. Tolerance. Being a genuine friend requires tolerance. We need patience when we’d prefer they change, forgiveness when we’re wronged, and willingness to help in whatever way we can.

  9. Touching. A warm, godly hug is a wonderful way to convey our love and assure a friend of our prayers on their behalf. And when someone is hurting, a touch delivers comfort and encouragement. This is a way we can follow Jesus’ example because He continually touched people as He ministered to them—even lepers. We should never underestimate the power of a touch.

  10. Transparency. To build an intimate friendship, we must be willing to be honest and open. Instead of trying to hide our weaknesses and hurts, we should freely share our struggles with our friend. This doesn’t mean we have to reveal everything about ourselves, but we must be authentic and demonstrate that we really are who we appear to be.

  11. Truthfulness. Without a foundation of truth, we cannot build a relationship. We must be confident that the other person is speaking truthfully, and he or she should be able to trust that we will do whatever we have said.

Do you have healthy friendships? If you long for a close friend but have been unable to find one, ask the Lord to provide someone with whom you can share. Then ask Him to make you into the friend He wants you to be for that person.

This article was originally published on May 7, 2016, and is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Strong Friendships (Part 1),”  which airs this weekend on TV.

Related Topics:  Community  |  Christian Fellowship  |  Loneliness

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1 Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself.

2 Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father's house.

3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.

4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt.

5 So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul's servants.

6 It happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments.

7 The women sang as they played, and said, Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands."

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