Devotional · Stay Sane

Friendship: A Practice in Sacrificial Love

Worldly standards on friendship can hinder our ability to be a Godly friend. In our quest to become the “truest” friend, we often stretch our personal boundaries and limits to the point of breaking. The Bible offers a multitude of advice on friendship and why sacrificial love is key.



I have the worst habit of telling new, potential friends that I am a “bad” friend. I began believing this idea when I started comparing what my friendships looked like with other friendships.

Surely a good friend should be able to drop anything at a moment’s notice. Isn’t a true friend able to carry the other through any darkness with strength and perseverance? Aren’t you “supposed to” go shopping, do lunch dates, talk on the phone?

I figured, since I wasn’t able to follow through on these standards 100% of the time, it meant I was not a “good” friend.

Well, that’s a load of junk.

Friendship: The Honest Truth

In my experience, stereotypical norms discourage Godly friendships from thriving. The world standards of “girl-friends” doesn’t always align with my personality type. I am not one for getting excited about shopping dates. I sometimes cringe at the thought of play dates. Socializing leaves me feeling exhausted. Typically, I get heavy after long conversations. Not by the subject matter, but by over analyzing my words and interactions.

Most people cannot commit to answering the phone WHENEVER the call comes; work, sleep,  and alone time are extremely important. Many of us can say that we will not ALWAYS make that coffee date; life happens and money is sometimes tight. We cannot ALWAYS keep it together while the other is going through a valley; pretending to have it all together is tiring, and quite frankly, insincere.

So, are these the reasons friendships go awry? Does lack of perfection cause us to feel guilt and give up?

Worldly standards can hinder our ability to be a Godly friend. The Bible offers a multitude of advice on friendship and why sacrificial love is key.

Friendship: Where We Go Wrong

When thinking back on fizzled out friendships, I was surprised to find they were completely within my control. Instead of enriching relationships inside my own God-given strengths, I shook them off. I compared and belittled what I brought to the table.

Having a successful relationship, doesn’t usually fit into obvious standards. Feeding into the lie that we have to be like all the other friendships, is where we go wrong. God created us to be exactly who we are: unique. Thus, our friendships will be unique.

You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17, MSG

God ordains friendships knowing that each person has what the other needs. When we try to operate outside of this knowledge, we mess it all up. When we refuse to allow God’s love to fill in the empty spaces, our friendships die.

Worldly standards can hinder our ability to be a Godly friend. The Bible offers a multitude of advice on friendship and why sacrificial love is key.

Friendship: What the Bible Says

The Bible emphasizes love as the greatest way to be a friend. When we come together IN love, TO love, we are committing our hearts to serving the Lord.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

1 Peter 4:8-9, NIV

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Romans 12:10-12, NIV

Jesus spoke the most significant advice on friendship…

This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you.

John 15:13-14, MSG

Friendship: The Promise

Jesus’ sacrifice gives us the greatest example of how to truly be a friend. Laying down our lives doesn’t necessarily mean our hearts stop. Sacrificing our lives looks like prayer. It looks like following through, being trustworthy, showing respect. Sacrificing ourselves resembles grace in the midst of pain; love in spite of selfishness. Love looks like 1 Corinthians 13.

I have come to terms with the fact that I will always be in a state of progress. I will never, ever be a “perfect” friend because I am not Jesus. Understanding and accepting these truths, has made me realize, I’m not a “bad” friend just because I’m not a “perfect” friend. I may not commit to every coffee date, phone call, or outing. But, I can promise, from the depths of my being, that I will love fiercely.

If we can become comfortable with who we are and what we have to offer, I believe we would see less broken relationships/friendships. Striving to love in friendship, honors God more than striving to do and be all the things.


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Worldly standards can hinder our ability to be a Godly friend. The Bible offers a multitude of advice on friendship and why sacrificial love is key.

Don Ross III

Written by Katie
I have attained the titles of wife, mother, daughter, friend. I chase three handsome boys around (one of which is my husband). I get through the day on coffee and my sweet friend, Jesus. I have an affinity for fantastical stories and science fiction. I love creating (in any medium) and imagining.

I am constantly striving to overcome insecurity and negativity in order to be the woman, wife, and mother my Savior destined me to be.

45 thoughts on “Friendship: A Practice in Sacrificial Love

  1. I’m not a perfect friend, by a long shot! But as part of several Good friendships, I know that flexibility is necessary! We love each other, safeguard each other’s confidences, and have been known to reschedule 4x over a 6 week period before getting together. Or not getting to call for months at a time, but when we do, it works! We sharpen and encourage each other.

    1. Yes!! I have had similar experiences (most of the time it’s me). Encouragement from our friends is so important! <3 I'm glad you have a great group, Aryn!!!

  2. I so needed this. It hurts, but I’ve been a bit hard on one of my friends lately because it seems like she is never there. But you are so right. I need to love like Jesus. To be devoted and hopeful, even if my feelings get hurt sometimes. I can’t expect her to fulfill my needs, that’s something I need to rely on Jesus for. Good stuff. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    1. Oh, Heather! You are very welcome! Striving to love like Jesus can be so difficult. I pray that you find some peace in the midst of pain. Only He can fill those gaps! <3

  3. We must be on the same wave-length! I have a devotional post scheduled for next week about friendship. Ugh! They can be hard. We hold ourselves and our friends to impossible standards and hurt feelings happen instead. Such a great post!

    1. It’s awesome how God speaks to us! I love seeing His “trends”. 🙂 I can’t wait to read your post!! You are right, Melissa. We DO hold our friends (and even ourselves) to such impossible standards. I pray we all refocus our “standards” to God’s! <3

  4. Needed this! I wrestle with guilt over not being a good friend to one of my sweetest friends who now lives over 2000 miles away. Each friendship is different, and ours is still flourishing despite the difference.

    1. Guilt is from the dark one, Hannah! Keep your confidence, Girl! <3 I'm so glad to hear you can continue such a strong bond over many miles!! Always strive in love and kick that guilt in the head! 🙂

  5. Friendships can’t be all-consuming. The woman can’t be calling every single day and expect you to put her first when you are married with children. I think women don’t get the companionship they need from their husbands, so they expect another woman to drop what she’s doing and put her above her own marriage, too. I’ve seen this over and over in many women’s lives.

    1. There’s truth in what you are saying, Susan! Sadly, I have dealt with this personally. When this happens, a hard, respectful discussion needs to occur. A discussion setting some healthy boundaries in love. Don’t give up on her, but pray and love! Always love.

  6. “When we try to operate outside of this knowledge, we mess it all up.” Girl, you hit the nail on the head with this one. There have been so many times that I have questioned my relationships with my friends and then I would end up questioning myself. We will indeed become better friends by loving like Jesus!

    1. Thank you, Keisha! I’m so glad this spoke to you! You are right! Questioning ourselves and God-ordained friendships causes brokenness. A Jesus-focussed friendship is so very important! <3

    1. Thanks, Emily! Yep! Us “people pleasers” tend to get caught up in helping those we care for, over ourselves (to our detriment).

  7. I think friendships are important for many. Being introverted they really don’t appeal to me. I secretly want that special friend who is local(my best friend from childhood lives in another state), but she can’t be clingy. When we moved across the country for my husband’s job, I met a sweet lady, she ruined the friendship for being clingy and expecting me to drop what I was doing to come to her. She never wanted to come to me. Like Susan mentioned, her husband spent months at a time on the road working. She craved companionship but didn’t know how to go about it with a friend whose husband was at home.

    1. That can be extremely difficult, Lori! I understand how you would feel like friendship isn’t appealing to you. You have been hurt and burned, but I encourage you, don’t give up hope (your husband is probably a great friend). There are a lot of us out there that just want to love our friends (which is a selfless act). It was very good for you to recognize a toxic relationship and separate yourself. I pray you find a friend just right for you! Introverts unite! 🙂 <3

  8. I was so fortunate to make a life long friend. I have lots of buddies and friends, but a true “bestie” is really a treasure. We joke that we’ve been together as long as she and her husband have. We even celebrate our “anniversary”! She’s a blessing to me.

    1. Oh, Andy!! I’m so glad you have found that true friend! I too have buddies, but it feels so good to have a “bestie”! They truly are treasures! <3

    1. Absolutely, Alice! Those are the best….easy going, grace-filled, and a truly loving friendship! I know without a doubt, even when I don’t talk to my long distance friends, they are praying and thinking of me! That in and of itself, is encouraging. <3

  9. Beautiful! Godly friendship always maintain a savoring of the grace of God, which means even when we don’t have it all together we still still hold our hearts close for each other and walk together in the journey of faith.

    1. Amen, Ann! Friendships do give us opportunities to practice the grace of God. It’s nice to share our faith journeys with someone! <3

  10. Such good points! The shape of friendship definitely changes with motherhood and just having less time and energy and money. But the quality of the friendship – that’s where the treasure is… Am feeling encouraged to drop my bestie an email cos I know she’d appreciate it.

    1. Yay! I hope you do send out a little reminder that you are thinking of her! You are right, Elizabeth. Motherhood, wifelyhood, money often changes what our friendships look like. When I became a Momma, I soon found out that friendships can’t operate the way they used to. I also found they became more enjoyable. More beautiful! <3

  11. Absolutely, yes! We can’t allow the world to define our standards because then we miss out on the greatest blessings that friendship has to offer – sacrifice! I love how you put it:

    “Sacrificing our lives looks like prayer. It looks like following through, being trustworthy, showing respect. Sacrificing ourselves resembles grace in the midst of pain; love in spite of selfishness. Love looks like 1 Corinthians 13.”

    1. Thank you, Kristi!! Friendship can definitely be a lesson in sacrificial love. It gives us a multitude of moments to show the love of Jesus. <3 I'm glad you were encouraged!

  12. I love this! Another area where I defy what a “traditional friend” is “supposed” to do (according to our society’s conception of best friends) is gossip about others that your best friend dislikes or those who have wronged them! I try to abstain from gossip as much as possible because it doesn’t make me feel good and I KNOW that it is against the Word of God. I sometimes catch myself doing it just because a friend is and then I have to remind myself who I am and who I want to be and how gossiping gets me further from God.

    1. Great point, Zahra! Yes, gossip is one of those “worldly standards” I was talking about. It’s a very dangerous slope and you are good to remember God’s commands on the matter! <3

  13. This paragraph! “When thinking back on fizzled out friendships, I was surprised to find they were completely within my control. Instead of enriching relationships inside my own God-given strengths, I shook them off. I compared and belittled what I brought to the table.”

    Me too. And I find cookie cutter friendships lonely. I’m thankful I have several friends who have known me for years – they don’t always “get” me, but they always love me. And we have all chosen to love each other for who we are never for who we think we should be. I am blessed by them and by your post today!

    1. I love how you put it, Joy. “We all have chosen to love each other[…]” Love is a choice! I also find cookie cutter friendships lonely, and they often leave me empty and broken. I’m so very glad that God has blessed you with a strong group of friends! And, I am so honored you were blessed by my words! <3

  14. I admit that I’ve failed at being a true friend and gotten into my feelings that caused distance. It’s not always about you! Without communication and understanding it makes it difficult to be the best friend to someone. I realize that now as I’ve gotten older. Thanks for sharing an honest perspective on friendships.

    1. Thank you for being vulnerable, Vanessa. I think we all have had friendships end where we were both to blame. You are right, communication and understanding are very important. Showing the love of God helps us in both these areas! <3

    1. Yes, Ayanna!! They are definitely worth it! Not just to enrich our lives, but to also allow God to teach us through them. I’ve learned a lot of quality life lessons just from my adult friendships! <3

  15. Love your transparency here – you are so right! Comparison really is the thief of joy, isn’t it? I’m learning (slowly) that true friendship is being emotionally and mentally available. Quality over quantity. Blessings on your friendships!

  16. I am reminded of the gift of friendship God has given to me with my best friend of over 50 years. She was 4 and I was 5 when we met and we went all through school together, college and our friendship has outlasted my first marriage and many other things. We can agree to disagree and praying for each other, respect and love has been the foundation of our friendship. God even allowed me to lead her to Christ. Friends for eternity….We are blessed. I know what we have is rare and a precious gift.

    1. That’s beautiful, Sheila! You are right, this type of friendship is definitely a rare treasure! <3 I'm so glad the Lord has blessed you in the way!

  17. What a beautiful post 🙂 I think many of us can give ourselves pressure to be a ‘good friend’ but the problem is we aren’t being good enough friends to ourselves – which makes it very hard to be a good friend to others.

    1. That’s a very great point, Yolanda!! I was just talking today about how it’s important to start our day with a full glass… We can’t operate on empty and expect to enrich others’ lives.

  18. Really loved this! It’s so tough to be a good friend by conventional standards when raising little ones. But following the true example of a good friend brings about deeper and lasting friendships for sure. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You’re right, Meghann! Mommy-hood has a funny way of changing EVERYTHING! 🙂 Including what our friendships look like…it’s funny, our friendships should have always looked like this! <3 I'm glad you were encouraged!

  19. This is awesome! Thanks for sharing.

    My best friend and I have had to have some very real and raw conversations this year about boundaries and expectations as she is newly married and I am increasingly getting involved in more ministries. It was hard at first but we check in and revist the conversation from time to time to make sure needs are still being met and good boundaries are still in place.

    1. How very important, Gabby! It’s very amazing to both be on the same page with setting boundaries! Healthy boundaries allow relationships to thrive! I’m so happy to hear that your friendship has withstood this awkward stage! <3 Stay encouraged!

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