By Patrice Burrell, Crosswalk.com
If we're honest, all women desire friendship with other women. Christian women are no different. Friendship is one of God's greatest gifts to us on earth. However, like all relationships, it requires nurturing. We are not born inherently knowing how to be godly mothers, godly wives, or even godly girl friends. To experience healthy relationships, we must be willing to invest ourselves through the energy and efforts we expend to build these relationships. Developing godly friendships happen over time as we purposefully offer attention to the special women God has placed in our path.
Growing as a godly friend with other women is an ongoing process. Our friendships require vulnerability and transparency if they are going to experience longevity. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can each strengthen our ability to be a godly girl friend with God's grace. Here are ten practical tips on how to courageously be a godly girl friend.
1. Be Authentically Friendly
Proverbs 18:24a: "A man who has friends must himself be friendly."
It's true! If you want friends, you have to be friendly. Not fake, but friendly. We all have to work with our authentic personalities in order to express friendliness to another person. We should never feel as if we have to present a persona of someone we are not to be accepted. Being anything other than authentic is dishonest and undermines genuine connection in a relationship. Besides, if someone doesn't like you for who you really are, then maybe the friendship is not meant to be. You can be yourself and friendly simultaneously, trusting God will give you opportunities to make friends with women you share similar interests.
2. Be Loving
1 Corinthians 13:4-7: "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
True friendship reflects unconditional love. One of the ways we can be a godly girl friend is to walk in love as it relates to how we endear our friends. It is impossible to experience enduring friendship without the love of God flowing through us. For the good of the friendship, we choose again and again to love freely. Christian women understand that God is love, and love is a fruit of the spirit we actively demonstrate in our friendships.
Something I have found helpful is to consider how I would want another person to treat me or respond to me in a given situation. Allowing that to influence my actions, I then treat my friend the way I would want to be treated, tempered through the lens of love. Our actions should always be motivated by love and reflect the love of God.
3. Be Prayerful
Prayer is one of the most significant acts we can initiate on behalf of those we love. We should pray God's blessings upon our friends. Surely if we can pray for "all the saints," which includes people who may be perfect strangers, then we can pray for someone we call a friend. Prayer also helps us examine ourselves, even when we are interceding for someone else. It is hard to pray for someone sincerely if you have unresolved heart issues within or toward that person. We cannot effectively pray for people we don't like, and it's even harder to pray for someone you call a friend but don't really love.
When we love someone, we desire God's best for them. We genuinely want to see them happy, successful, and winning in life. We can give our friends the highest honor by seeking God on their behalf and praying for them.
4. Be Genuine
1 Thessalonians 5:11: "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
Make genuine gestures to express care to your friend. Doing so is how we build each other up and show encouragement. Gestures like sending a random text, calling, and dropping a note in the mail let our friends know they are important to us. Or how about sending them a card on their birthday instead of a generic Facebook comment. Pick up the phone and call them, hop on Zoom or video chat from time to time. We want to be mindful that we are being genuine as godly girl friends.
Whatever the gesture, we should want it to come from a sincere place in our thoughts for them and responses to them. Letting our friends know we genuinely care about them is revealed in our actions. It doesn't have to take much time or lots of money to be genuine. Even the simplest of gestures can convey this sentiment when it comes from a loving heart and gracious spirit.
5. Be Present
Proverbs 17:17a: "A friend loves at all times."
There are special times in all of our lives when we appreciate the presence of our dearest friends. Godly girl friends recognize the importance of showing up when it matters most to visibly offer support. Memorable moments like a bridal shower and wedding or the birth of a new baby. Milestone moments like a graduation celebration or business venture launch. Unexpected, challenging moments like the death of a loved one or a concerning health diagnosis. No matter what the case may be, we all want to have our godly girl friends right there in our corner celebrating, cheering us on, and offering compassion through it all.
6. Be Engaged
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10: "Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up."
Friends do life together. They create opportunities to engage with one another to strengthen the friendship. Godly girl friends know how to have fun and enjoy their friendship. We make time to do things together like going on an outdoor adventure, taking a road trip, praying together, having coffee dates, or even attending a ladies Christian event as a girl's weekend getaway are all ideas to engage intentionally. We will always have life responsibilities to attend to every day. Yet, we can still be godly girl friends by choosing to make time to engage with our friends as we invite them into the rhythm of our life.
7. Be a Listener
James 1:19: "My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to get angry."
In a world where everyone wants to be heard, we must remain vigilant not to be counted among those who have given way to the lost art of listening. Listening is a communication skill many of us struggle with because we are often thinking about the next thing we want to say instead of paying attention when someone else is speaking. Listening requires focus and a non-judgmental attitude about what we are hearing.
Our friends often do not want us to fix things or give them the answers concerning what they share with us in conversation. They just desire a listening ear that offers comfort, simply by being present in the moment as they speak. We want to be the kind of godly girl friend that listens deeply and even pays attention to the unspoken words our friends express through their countenance or nonverbal communication. We want our listening to convey, "I hear you, and I'm here for you."
8. Be Positive
Hebrew 10:24: "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works."
Considerate friends are positive friends. They look for the good, praise the good, and magnify the good. Being positive with our perspective and words yields powerful results in our friendships. Ladies, let's be the kind of friend who seeks to encourage our friends, especially regarding their goals and pursuing dreams.
We want to stir up love and good works in them by maintaining a correct attitude. If our friends experience negative feedback, may it never come from us. This does not mean we cannot be honest when offering our opinions. However, we should never have a harsh, critical outlook. We can always choose to speak the truth in love and let our words be seasoned with grace. We want to create a friendship culture where positivity is the norm. Otherwise, we may need to evaluate if we are dealing with a toxic, dysfunctional friendship.
9. Be Loyal
John 15:13-15: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you."
Great friends are loyal friends. They never betray confidence. Even if a friendship should come to an end, it is crucial as godly women that we keep our integrity by not gossiping or divulging information about another person. Loyalty reflects our character. So let's be loyal friends who are truthful and trustworthy.
10. Be forgiving
Colossians 3:12-13: "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
The final practical tip on being a godly girlfriend is to be forgiving. At some point, all friendships are tested, and offense will arise. But the real test is how we respond to it. Godly women know the necessity of practicing forgiveness. Jesus' ultimate mission was to reconcile us back to God. In fulfilling His mission, it brought great glory to our Father. In the same manner, I believe God receives great glory when Christian friendships can experience forgiveness and reconciliation instead of irreconcilable differences that lead to a breach. If our friendships are to reflect God, we must be humble enough to forgive one another the same way Jesus demonstrates forgiveness to each of us.
It is my resolve to be the best godly girl friend I can, and I am sure you feel the same way too. True friendship is reciprocal. When you have been the recipient of genuine acts of friendship, it makes you want to be a better friend. We should reciprocate in our actions and never stop desiring to be great, godly girl friends. Remember Proverbs 27:17, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." May we all endeavor to be the kind of woman who sharpens another sister and makes each other better through our friendships.