Can I keep my close friendships after becoming Christian?
“Show me your friends and I will show you your future.” - Dan Pena
I came to know Christ as a sophomore in High School. I was 16 years of age at the time.
Relatively speaking, my conversion to Christianity came at an older age than most of my Christian constituents. They were all saved as Children for the most part and apart of the church the majority of their lives.
Whereas for me, I was both new to the church and the people that went there. I liked them, but at that point, they were not my closest friends.
Most of my close friendship slots were filled with people who weren’t Christian. They were sports teammates, classmates and so on. I loved them and they were great friends!
Yet, week after week in the youth service I would hear about how our environment is everything. Basically, that we need to surround ourselves with people who love God and push us further in our walk with Him.
Which, candidly, is good advice. But did put me in a tough spot in light of the fact that not many of my friends were Christian.
It caused me to wonder: Can I keep my close friendships after becoming a Christian?
The short answer is, it depends.
The Bible is clear on one thing: Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor. 15:33). Or as Denzel Washington once said, “Hang around the barbershop long enough and you’re going to get a haircut.”
Who we surround ourselves with plays a massive role into how we behave and operate. It’s a fact of life. If your crew loves Christ, then you inevitably will. If they don’t, then you most likely will falter in your faith.
So, it seems wise to steer clear of and cut off all of your non - Christian relationships… but not so fast!
Because there was a man named Jesus who spent plenty of time with those who weren’t believers (Mark 2:15). He was the epitome of spiritual maturity but, felt it was okay to chop it up with those who weren’t Christian. As believers, we are called to follow the example of Christ. Consistently asking the question “What would Jesus do?” Well, Jesus was not afraid to spend time and have relationships with unbelievers and neither should you!
But, there are two important things to note about what Jesus did in conjunction with having those relationships.
1. He was close with God and had strong spiritual habits. Jesus knew the Word of God, prayed consistently, fasted and so on (Mark 1).
Before entering into the influence of others, he was already heavily influenced by His Father in Heaven. So, before you go hanging out with your non - Christian friends make sure you have been hanging and spending time with your Savior.
2. Jesus had a CORE group of solid, Christian friends. They were his twelve disciples and he spent lots of time with them (Matt. 20:17).
In the same way, make sure you season your friendships with some strong Christian pals. People that will push you closer to Christ.
Plus, maybe even some of your non - Christian friends will mingle with your Christian ones and come to know Christ! Which, by the way, should be our goal for anyone in our circle.
We don’t keep our faith to ourselves, we spread it unashamedly.
Many of my friends from high school have come into a relationship with Christ as a result of me not cutting them off and sticking to the standard that Jesus set.
The same thing can happen for you. He is going to do something amazing in the lives of your friends through you. Stay close to Him and continue to foster God - honoring relationships.