A real redemptive friendship produces righteousness in one another. In a sermon given by my pastor this Sunday our church peered into the friendship of David and Jonathan. There friendship was the epitome of a healthy, godly and redemptive relationship.
Affirmation #1 – I will be there for you during times of hardship [1 Samuel 23:15-16], Hardship always reveals true friendship. If you are not there for a friend in a hard time you are not a redemptive friend. When Jonathan went to David he was taking a big risk [cf.20:31-33; Proverbs 17:17].
Affirmation #2 – I will help you to depend upon God and not me [23:16-17]. Jonathan strengthened Davids hand in God. He did not minimize the problem. He did not present himself as the answer to Davids problems. He simply points David to the promises of God. Are my friendships strong in Christ because of your friendship with them?
Affirmation #3 – I will seek to be a source of emotional stability for you. Redemptive friends are objective–they measure your words with and against the Scriptures. Redemptive friends do not reed sinful emotions through sympathy, but they help them to see and understand the truth.
Affirmation #4 – I will seek to be your loyal friend even when I lose. Jonathan knew the kingdom was not his. In a day and age when kings killed their competitors. Jonathan affirms his friend David by saying, “you shall be king and I will be next to you.” Jonathan says in essence, “David I will be your biggest supporter when you become the next king!” Jonathan loses the kingdom, but gains a redemptive friend and advocate. He is not really losing anything by obeying God.
Affirmation #5 – I will verbalize my commitment to you [23:18]. David and Jonathan seal their friendship with a ceremony. Like a marriage the ceremony is an important reminder before God as their witness.
Redemptive relationships are critical for spiritual growth in Christ. Do you have a redemptive friendship like this? Are you a redemptive friend like this? Is your church cultivating redemptive friendships like this?