4 Types of Friendship: What is the Purpose of Yours?
Many times, when we hear the word relationship we think about romantic relationships. While romantic relationships are great, there are many other kinds of relationships that we should have wisdom about. It is important to understand the different kinds of relationships and the purpose for each one. Discovering the purpose for every relationship will help you experience a happier and more purposeful life. Let’s dive into exploring the different types of relationships.
Relationship Number One: Toxic
Do not be misled, Bad company corrupts good character. -1 Corinthians 15:33
This is the relationship that you are in that you weren’t suppose to be in at all or that you were suppose to end a long time ago. It serves neither party any purpose. This person is negatively influencing you to live a lifestyle less than the life that God has for you. This is the relationship where you probably are telling yourself, “I can handle it, I won’t allow this person to change me, I will help them change” all the while this person is negatively influencing you. If you are not positively influencing this negative person and you two are hanging around each other, you are the one being changed, and it’s not for the better. In every relationship, at least one of the parties are changing as a result of that relationship. It’s important to recognize when you are a part of a toxic relationship and quickly remove yourself from it.
Relationship Number Two: Mentee
Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity and dignity. -Titus 2:6-7
This relationship requires a high level of maturity. It requires you to be mature enough in your walk not to be negatively influenced by the actions of the mentee. It also requires you to be mature enough to give without receiving anything in return. It is important, in this relationship, not to confuse this as a friendship. The sole purpose of this relationship is for you to allow God to use you to be a light to the other person. If you don’t understand that purpose, you can get hurt when the other person doesn’t reciprocate what you are giving to them. It’s important not to cross boundaries in this relationship. Do not open yourself up to this person and become vulnerable like you would in a friendship. The focus is the other party, not you. You should begin to see a positive change in the other person as a result of this relationship. They also will see you as a mentor or source of wise counsel. Do not try to develop mentor/mentee relationships where you are not led to. You are not called to everyone.
It is also important to stay built up in the word and also in the presence of God so that you can be able to “carry the burdens” of your brother without it having a negative effect on you. You want to maintain that integrity that drew them to you in the first place. More importantly, be sure to point them to God in everything so that they won’t make and idle out of you and replace seeking God’s counsel for your counsel.
Relationship Number Three: Mentor
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. -Proverbs 13:20
This relationship is the same as the previous, only the roles are reversed. There will be people that God sends to your life for the sole purpose of being a light to you and will help you through your current season or assist in getting you to the next. It is important that you understand that this is simply counsel and that God’s word should triumph over everyone else’s. Do not substitute this relationship for your own personal relationship with God. This person may be someone who’s spiritual life you admire, but you still can’t be satisfied with just getting second hand revelation. The mentor is meant to be confirmation to the word that was already spoken to you from God.
Relationship Number Four: God-ordained Lifelong Friendships
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. -Proverbs 27:17
This relationship is very sacred. It is rare and does not come by very often. These are people that God has sent into your life for a lifetime. They are here for you regardless of the circumstances or situations. In this relationship , there is definite reciprocity. You both are feeding and sowing into this relationship. Both parties are being positively influenced by each other. You correct each other when needed in love. You build each other up and both have made the decision to not allow one another to settle for anything less than their God given ability and potential. This connection will bring you so much joy, wise counsel, and good times. However, this friendship also requires work. It requires time, patience and unconditional love. It is similar to a marriage relationship minus the romantic aspect of it. In this connection, with time you learn each other in a very intimate (non-romantic) way. You discover each other’s strengths and weaknesses and make a decision to love each other through both. This relationship will be challenged by the enemy because he knows that this is a God ordained connection that will result in lives being changed and God being glorified. He knows that the two parties’ purposes are intertwined in some way and will try to attack this relationship. He’ll bring offense after offense to try to destroy it. You have to be mindful that it is the enemy’s job to try to steal, kill, and destroy anything that will advance or bring glory to the kingdom of God.
It’s important not to allow offense to arise between you and your God sent friend. Love unconditionally and understand that your purposes are more important than any offense. What if John the Baptist and Jesus let offense get in the way of their relationship? Or Mary and Elizabeth? How differently would everything have turned out? Keep that in mind when offense tries to creep into this relationship. Also, just like a marriage relationship God will show you through this relationship your own flaws. You’re blessed if you find one or two friendships. Fight for this relationship!
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! -Ecclesiastes 4:9-11
It is so important that we as believers understand the purpose for our relationships. God has a purpose for every connection. Seek God about the people that you currently surround yourself with. If you find yourself feeling like you’re in an alone season where it’s just you and God, take advantage of this season because He will teach you a lot during this time. Pray and trust that God will send the right relationships for each season, in the right timing.
Pray this prayer:
Father God, I thank you for being such a strategic God! I thank you that every relationship in my life has purpose. Thank you for opening my eyes and giving me understanding on what purpose each relationship serves in my life. I ask that you remove any toxic relationships and place in my life fun, exciting, and purposeful relationships that will advance the kingdom and bring glory to your name. In Jesus name Amen.