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Friendships with unbelievers?

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"Is it good to have close friendships with unbelievers?"

Gotquestions.org

As Christians, we have to constantly face temptations and the attacks of the world around us. Everything we see, read, do, hear, put in our bodies, etc., affects us somehow. That's why, to maintain a close relationship with God, we have to put aside our old ways of doing things—the things we watch on TV, old bad habits (excessive drinking, smoking, etc.), the activities we participate in, and the people we spend our time with. People are divided into only two categories, those who belong to the world and its ruler, Satan, and those who belong to God (Acts 26:18). These two groups of people are described in terms of opposites all through the Bible; e.g., those in darkness/those in the light; those with eternal life/those with eternal death; those who have peace with God/those who are at war with Him; those who believe the truth/those who believe the lies; those on the narrow path to salvation/those on the broad road to destruction, and many more. Clearly, the message of Scripture is that believers are completely different from nonbelievers, and it is from this perspective that we must discern what kind of friendships we can really have with unbelievers.

The book of Proverbs has a few wise verses on believers befriending non-believers: "The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray" (12:26). We should stay away from foolish people (13:20, 14:7), from people who lose their temper easily (22:24), and from the rebellious (24:21). All these things represent those who have not been saved. "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14). First Corinthians 15:33 tells us that bad company corrupts good character. Unbelievers are slaves to sin (John 8:34), and Christians are slaves to God (1 Corinthians 7:22). If we become deeply involved (either by friendship or a romantic relationship) with non-Christians, we are setting ourselves up for turmoil. It can (and does often) cause the Christian to stumble in his walk, fall back into a sinful life, and also turn others away from God (by misrepresenting God and Christianity). Another detrimental effect of closeness with unbelievers is our tendency to water down the truths of Scripture so as to not offend them. There are difficult truths in the Word of God, truths such as judgment and hell. When we minimize or ignore these doctrines or try to “soft pedal” them, in essence we are calling God a liar for the sake of those already in the grasp of Satan. This is not evangelism.

Although these close relationships are not recommended, it does not mean we turn our noses up and ignore unbelievers, either. Second Timothy 2:24-26 tells us that as servants of the Lord, we are to be kind to and not quarrel with anyone. We should gently teach those who oppose the truth, and be patient with difficult people. Matthew 5:16 tells us, “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly father.” We should serve unbelievers so that they may see God through us and turn to Him in praise. James 5:16 says that there is great power in the prayer of a righteous person, so bring your concerns for unbelievers before God, and He will listen.

Many people have been saved because of the prayers and service of Christians, so don't turn your back on unbelievers, but having any kind of intimate relationship with an unbeliever can quickly and easily turn into something that is a hindrance to your walk with Christ. We are called to evangelize the lost, not be intimate with them. There is nothing wrong with building quality friendships with unbelievers – but the primary focus of such a relationship should be to win them to Christ by sharing the Gospel with them and demonstrating God’s saving power in our own lives.
 
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Friendship With Unbelievers?

We are called to evangelize the lost, not be intimate with them.
If the good people at GotQuestions.org were referring to romance when they used the word "intimate" here, I would agree with them. Romantic/marital relationships with people who are outside the Christian faith can be dangerous.

However, if they are using "intimate" within the context of close friendships, I must disagree. Many, many people have come to Christ through close friendship with believers. People credit high profile preachers like Billy Graham and Morris Cerullo with being great evangelists. They're not the real evangelists. The real evangelism is done by the Christians who drew these people to Christ by being Christlike toward them.

I can't show Christ's love from a strictly defensive posture. I have to show a desire for relationship based on genuine friendship (short term or long term) rather than just a plan to get him/her saved. Outsiders spot "a plan to get him/her saved" in a heartbeat and they turn away because they know we see them only as projects, not as people of value, which is what they long for.

SLE
 
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[LEFT]I have many christian friends who I get along with fine. I consider them as equal as me, beliefs don't change any of that.

Doesn't God want peace?
[/LEFT]
 
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Staff Member
Dear sorrow,

I have family members who are family members... and then there are others I know, who are not family. Are they actually all equal in relationship to me?

Bless you ....><>


Br. bear
 
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I have an atheist friend that whenever we would try to discuss religion, she'd say things that would totally insult Christianity, and at times I don't feel any urge to try with her because he may get mad or something, and this is wrong, I must always speak for God, no matter who I'm talking to, so if you have a friendship with an unbeliever, you should teach them about Jesus.

I think *intimate* meant relationships and love, which totally makes sense, even some Christians claim they are Christians and they know nothing about Jesus, then how about those who don't even believe in Him? The Christian partner will suffer really alot.

What the post means that we shouldn't go clubbing with them for example, but instead, we would introduce Jesus to them.
 
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1Co 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
1Co 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
1Co 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
1Co 5:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
1Co 5:13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

The above involves not associating with brothers or sisters who are sinners, who won't stop sinning. Also see what sins Paul is referring too please, and not add more sins here.




The below scriptures show us not to get involved with unbelievers as equals in faith, marriage, and so on. But unless the person is already married to an unbeliever at his or her conversion, this changes to if you are pleased to dwell with one another in a peaceful relationship.


2Co 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2Co 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
2Co 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,
2Co 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.



And as Paul says above in order to stay away from unbelievers in general, we would have to leave the planet.

But good post sister, it has a lot of info.

God bless
 
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Hi God bless you all,

i agree with Nermeen, exactly how 'close' can one get with unbelievers in a friendship. The deep closeness in a friendship is all the agreement and constant companionship going on with the other person. Frequent communication and nurturing is just some of the main ingredients that goes into building a relationship.

Father God loves EVERYONE right, but He's not close or intimate with everyone, only with those who respond to His calling and are in agreement with His will and ways.

We must love everyone, but we will not be able to have a peaceful fruitful relationship with someone who wants to be in darkness and has no interest in the very reason for our existence. You may like someone of the world alot, because of their wonderful personalities, and charm or charisma, even unsaved people who have really good habits can attract us, (God still makes great people) but truly that friendship can only go so far.

Yes we can befriend and be a witness to an unsaved person who is seeking Christ and the truth and wants to grow but has genuine concerns and questions and issues to sort out, however slow their progress may be, and to an unsaved person who respects our beliefs but is just not interested in them. But with both of these cases we can never be TRUE friends because how close can you actually get?

Yes we love them, but we can't share our deep intimacies of our relationship with Jesus with them because they are not at that place of understanding yet. And if there is no agreement how can anything grow let alone friendships or relationships!

Much love to you all in Jesus name
beam
 
Member
However, if they are using "intimate" within the context of close friendships, I must disagree. Many, many people have come to Christ through close friendship with believers. People credit high profile preachers like Billy Graham and Morris Cerullo with being great evangelists. They're not the real evangelists. The real evangelism is done by the Christians who drew these people to Christ by being Christlike toward them.

I can't show Christ's love from a strictly defensive posture. I have to show a desire for relationship based on genuine friendship (short term or long term) rather than just a plan to get him/her saved. Outsiders spot "a plan to get him/her saved" in a heartbeat and they turn away because they know we see them only as projects, not as people of value, which is what they long for.

SLE
I agree with you, Ed.

I am always concerned when I see Christians only associating with other Christians, or sitting on the steps of the church waiting to welcome new people in but never really going out to seek the lost to bring them into the Kingdom.

My BIL is essentially one of these Christians - he is a good man and loves the Lord, but most of his service is done within the company of other believers - he doesn't go out and seek the lost in the places where they live, but rather dons his suit and tie and waits at the door of his church for them to rush in and be saved. H and I belong to a Christian biker group with the slogan "Some wish to live within the sound of church or chapel bells - we want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell". We wear jeans and leather and get out into the world, to be in it, but not of it. Two very different approaches, and each useful in it's own way.

Reaching out often calls for befriending those who are lost. It doesn't mean that we become like them and adopt their habits, but that we should peacefully and without pressure show them a different way to live, show them a joy that even the worst of circumstances cannot drown. Show them that we are human and we make mistakes but God forgives, and that this same love and forgiveness is available to them.
 
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I've been thinking this thread over for a couple of days and come to the conclusion that it would depend on the kind of unbeliever. For instance, a friend who will listen when you speak about God and ask questions, even if they disagree, would be a good one to keep. And I don't mean disagreeing in a screaming debate, I mean in an insightful conversation so in order to teach them about God.

On the other hand, a friend who will close up and not want to hear any word concerning God, Jesus or the Bible may be a friend to drop. Sadly, I know someone like this and I tried to spark the interest and nothing. The conversation is turned around, she doesn't want to hear anything about it and the atmosphere turns uncomfortable.

I don't know what areas you all live, but if keeping non-believer friends out of your life you may wind up loney. Or having senior citezen's as your only friends. I say seniors cause those are the only ones who ever go to prayer groups here. It's loney for young people.

God bless!
 
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I agree with you, Ed.

I am always concerned when I see Christians only associating with other Christians, or sitting on the steps of the church waiting to welcome new people in but never really going out to seek the lost to bring them into the Kingdom. We ...get out into the world, to be in it, but not of it.

Reaching out often calls for befriending those who are lost. It doesn't mean that we become like them and adopt their habits, but that we should peacefully and without pressure show them a different way to live, show them a joy that even the worst of circumstances cannot drown. Show them that we are human and we make mistakes but God forgives, and that this same love and forgiveness is available to them.
"To be in the world, not of it" You said it!

I`m always concerned when I see Christians talking about people "not respecting" them, or not "listening" to them.

First of all, we are not in this world to command respect...we are here to serve.

Secondly, simply walking the walk, speaks a whole lot louder than talking talk...

Strangely enough, I have a few "unbelieving" friends (tho the word unbeliever really should be better defined here) ...I dont recall ever talking specifically about God to them...but when trouble comes to them, they are pretty quick to come to me to ask me to pray...i`ve concluded after seeing this happen several times...that there is a light that shines where it wills into the darkness of mens hearts...and that light is not ME...(all glory to God!)

That being said...I`ll 'befriend' (and yes I mean friend in every sense of the word) the drunk on the street, the foul mouthed teenager who comes to my door, it makes no difference to me...darkness doesnt overcome true light...light overcomes darkness!

Mat 11:19 The Son of man has come feasting, and they say, See... a friend of sinners! And wisdom is judged to be right by her works.

Jesus Christ, SEE a friend of sinners.



It should be noted...if this statement were true:

If we become deeply involved (either by friendship or a romantic relationship) with non-Christians, we are setting ourselves up for turmoil. It can (and does often) cause the Christian to stumble in his walk, fall back into a sinful life, and also turn others away from God (by misrepresenting God and Christianity).
Then it begs the question, why does Paul instruct believers to dwell intimately (in every sense of the word) with unbelievers if the unbeliever desires to be with them?

1Co 7:12 But to the rest I say, and not the Lord; If a brother has a wife who is not a Christian, and it is her desire to go on living with him, let him not go away from her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a Christian, and it is his desire to go on living with her, let her not go away from her husband.

There is nothing wrong with building quality friendships with unbelievers – but the primary focus of such a relationship should be to win them to Christ
I believe the primary focus of the "believer" should be to be a friend (love and serve), and let Christ do the saving.

If I may, let me show you something ...

Heb 1:13 God never said to any of his angels: "Sit here at my right side until I put your enemies as a footstool under your feet." What are the angels, then? They are spirits who serve God and are sent by him to help those who are to receive salvation.

Are we better than the angels? No.

So does God say to any of us, sit here with me, while I make those "unbelievers" your footstool? No

God sends the angels to "serve those who are to receive salvation"

In the same manner God sends us to serve those who are to receive salvation.


Luk 19:7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, He is gone in to lodge with a man that is a sinner...

Luk 19:9 And Jesus said unto him, To-day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.
 
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I think we should offer help when unbelievers ask for it, when they want to know about God, but we must pray in order to know what to tell them and how to direct them towards God's arms, in the end, many of the unbelievers I've met were people who are severely hurt by their pasts and are left with no hope, we should tell them the good news, spread God's love and God's love demonstrated on the cross.

Even wise and smart people need to be comforted every now and then, they may act proud, but they are just weak people deep down, who need our prayers and our patience.
 
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I think it cruel to base whether they are your friend or not by how they value or reject your religion. Why do you think we have so many conflicts and wars over religious proportions and excuses and acquisitions etc.

Ultimately, there are many MANY people that I know who are fantastic wonderful people, and God and Jesus means nothing to them. And I'm sure there are horrible people who do not believe in God or Jesus either. One's faith does not determine whether a person is good or evil or friendly or not.

The kind of thinking that places somebody as below you or unworthy of being your friend because of some spiritual differences is only going to put humanity in a poor way, we are inevitably a diverse people. Get used to it, there are no winners or losers. There is no right or wrong spirituality, because it means something different to everybody. I pity those who judge people by their religion as it will inevitably limit their scope of how much harmony they can attain living with other people.
 
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"There is nothing wrong with building quality friendships with unbelievers – but the primary focus of such a relationship should be to win them to Christ by sharing the Gospel with them and demonstrating God’s saving power in our own lives."

that is so true and i think is so important to remember when reaching out to the unbelievers, we must really be so careful in what we say and do, because so quickly people's hearts can become hardened towards God and it really hurts seeing how hardened some people are towards God, because our loving Saviour just wants them to see His gift of eternal life and love, better than anything the word can offer.
 
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sorrow, sadly, I think you misunderstood the whole thread and all the replies, do you mind going through it again?

Thanks.

God bless.
 
Member
Friendships with unbelievers

"There is nothing wrong with building quality friendships with unbelievers – but the primary focus of such a relationship should be to win them to Christ
If our primary focus in relationships with those outside the faith is to lead them to Christ, we are courting failure. First, evangelism is a process that involves more than one person. You may not be the person appointed by God to lead that person in a sinner's prayer, thus, when the person doesn't say a sinner's prayer with you you might charge the encounter off incorrectly as a failure. Secondly, if your primary focus is not to welcome them into your life as a friend, they will probably eventually decide that they are only an evangelism target to you, flee from you and, sadly, possibly reject Christianity.

Formulaic approaches to evangelism usually fail. If a person does respond to a formulaic approach by saying a sinner's prayer, odds are that he/she is only saying it as a way of closing the encounter and getting the heck away from the "evangelist".

I think the Bible gives us the "secret" to evangvelism in Acts 2:46b-47. The first century disciples won people to Christ by praying for them and by loving each other and them. No programs, no formulas; just spreading God's love around.

Spirit Led Ed
 
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"There is nothing wrong with building quality friendships with unbelievers – but the primary focus of such a relationship should be to win them to Christ by sharing the Gospel with them and demonstrating God’s saving power in our own lives."
The purpose of having a friend is to be their friend. No strings attached. Relationships just emerge from people liking eachother, not expecting or hoping for them to change. It is unjustified to see one's own faith as the best faith for everybody. Everybody is different and everybody has different morals. Most of us are all capable of good and that is simply enough. It is just like saying that heaven is not going to be the same for everybody.


If our primary focus in relationships with those outside the faith is to lead them to Christ, we are courting failure.
I agree.

Secondly, if your primary focus is not to welcome them into your life as a friend, they will probably eventually decide that they are only an evangelism target to you, flee from you and, sadly, possibly reject Christianity.
You say sadly and .... have you ever experienced these other religions before?:lookback:hmm? Keep an open mind to the fact that people only have their best interests in mind of themselves, and that most people on Earth want to do good for themselves and for society. And most religions all have some core values that should not be considered "inferior" to christianity. They all have their merits, its all human wisdom, we need to evaluate that and grow up and move on.

One can never become a better person if their morals are static. This ofcourse, a piece of wisdom God would never give, is something evangelicals never think about, and I mean this with the highest amount of respect possible. It is a blessing to be taught by other human beings.


Formulaic approaches to evangelism usually fail.
Often yes. But a crowd can be much more easily coerced. Look at Hitler for example. The public just accepted it all... all that propoganda... without evaluating any of the morals Hitler contrives. I don't know how other religions could be so unaccepting of the jewish faith, they are practically the same. Your average jew, compared to your average christian; both want to be good. Why why why must there be anything more to that.
 
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Greetings and God's peace be on us all,

The theme of this thread is "how close can one get to unbelievers". It has never been about judging or rejecting anyone.

Jesus is our only true example of the way we should do things. How close could Jesus get to the Pharisees and Saducees? Did Jesus desire an intimate friendship with them, you bet He did, but could He get closer than He wanted?. No, why, because they didn't want it! The "how close CAN" we get is upto the other person. No one can beat Father God's love for mankind, but just HOW close is God to everyone. It always depends on us, how close DO we want God to be and God's primary objective IS that ALL will come to salvation, that ALL will come to Jesus Christ, there is no other way to Him. John 14:6

Even in everything Jesus did, His objective and very reason, His very purpose, was that ALL would be reconciled to God.

I have many encounters with all sorts of people in my little from the well respected to a young hobo addict that stands day in and day out, outside a cafe. I have great zeal for the Lord and souls. I love people and have prayed often in the streets for the truly down and out. There are people i help with cash, and some i only buy food for. There is an old lady who i no longer buy anything for unless i get a direct command from the Lord. You see by spending time with her i got to know her ways, she is not at all interested in furthering her spirit. I realise that this precious soul is in bondage (she is on a special prayer list i have) but the spirit that is driving her leads her to beg for money, and she does get a state pension, not to mention people who still help her out regulary because she is well known in the town.

At one stage this precious soul would phone me at home and it got to a stage that she expected me to bring groceries on demand. I had to learn not to play God in her life, everyone needs to learn to trust in God not man. My husband and I helped her alot. We must help and give and love and give and share and be overly generous, but even Jesus said to his disciples and "if anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.." Mathew 10:14

If i continued to help on demand when would she ever go further than me and to the Lord who is her provider? Jesus said to us " go out and make disciples of all nations.."Mathew 28:19.. i am learning to lead people to trust and have faith in God for their lives, not to have faith in me. But all too often it is easier for man to rather just phone so and so and they will see to your needs insead of learning to go to God and let Him be God in their lives and see to their needs, SO THAT they can in turn go out and TEACH OTHERS to trust in God also.

We must do what we can and even beyond that. Am I judging or rejecting this lady, NO, i am judging the situation, because she began to rely on me, a mere person, and should i continue to enable that, no way! I still see her often around the town, i greet her, she has sores on her head, i kiss her on her head and tell her i still love her, if i ever hear she has no food and truly is in dire need, must i help her, what a question, of course yes! Having said all this, the question remains, just HOW close and intimate could i get with this lady, i truly tried, i trimmed her hair even dyed it for her, arranged a funeral for her partner, i do not want to mention the many things we did for her beacause i am not bragging, to God be all the glory. In fact this is my passion, if my husband didn't stop me i would give his car away, i would give our bed away!!! Believe me i wanted to get so close to her, i wanted to love her and hug her and spoil her and have tea with her, but she was not willing to go further. Sounds alot like Father God toward us, dont ya think.

There are oft times when we need to tell the Truth God's way and not ours, even if it means the other person's response will be "what kind of a christian are you?"

It is God's Truth God's way that sets people free, not our pity and sympathy. There is such a vast amount of different situations that call for different measures, some where we must be very very soft and gentle, others where we must take the stand of Truth and only our own relationship with God will determine us getting the wisdom we so need, to deal with these situations correctly.

Yours in Christ
beam
 
Member
Hi again,

I have a question.

If we as christians know that someone is a 'wiccan' and they are quite a respectable person, and they respect our views and are interested in going further in a friendship with us, can we invite them into our home, knowing that the spirit of withcraft is entering our home too?

Much love
beam
 
Member
Blessings Beam,
I really don't think you should invite them to your own house, you must not get that close to magik or whatever they call their witch-craft, I invite muslims into my house but that's because they can't harm me or allow demons into my place.

God bless
 

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