What makes someone a good friend?

 I think that question is often answered by how someone treats you and acts towards you during the difficult seasons of life. When you are in a valley; emotionally, spiritually, or mentally, what kind of support and counsel do they offer you?

This life in a broken world is hard. We inevitably experience days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years where we are significantly impacted by the brokenness around us and the brokenness in our own hearts. Other people, even those very close to us, do things that cause deep hurt and pain. Our own struggles with sin, the lure to serve our idols, and the difficulty of living in a physical world that isn’t quite as it should be leads to all sorts of shame, regret, discouragement, and sorrow.

So, in those times, when facing the hard stuff of life, what makes a good friend?  

I think I discovered the answer to that recently when I was sharing my story with a new friend. As I was talking with this friend I felt comfortable taking off the mask of stability and strength and sharing my own struggles with insecurity, doubt, anxiety, and depression. I shared the fear, shame, and embarrassment I often feel as a pastor who doesn’t have it all together. I shared how I don’t have all the answers and I am not sure why I am wired the way I am. As I shared these things this friend looked me in the eye and said something so simple yet so profound and encouraging that I have thought about it over and over again since that day.

He said to me, “You don’t need to be ashamed, Christ is your righteousness.”

It was in that moment that I realized that a good friend is not someone who echoes the “advice” of our culture. They don’t tell you to “try harder” or “believe in yourself” or “stop doubting your greatness” or “you need to forgive yourself.”

A good friend doesn’t tell you to work on yourself but encourages you to take your brokenness to Jesus and find forgiveness and grace. Click To Tweet

No, a good friend simply looks you in the eye and reminds you that although you are broken, imperfect, and weak, there is One who came to live and die and rise so that you could be made righteous and be restored into a relationship with God. A good friend doesn’t tell you to work on yourself but encourages you to take your brokenness to Jesus and find forgiveness and grace. A good friend doesn’t give you advice on how to be a better you but reminds you that on the cross Jesus cried, “It is finished.”  

A good friend doesn’t give you advice on how to be a better you but reminds you that on the cross Jesus cried, “It is finished.” Click To Tweet

Are you struggling with sin? Are you ashamed at who you are or what you’ve done? Are you struggling with doubt and discouragement? Do you feel broken, weak, and hopeless?

Friend, Christ is your righteousness.