Being friendly is an important part of living a Christ-centered life. As Christians, we are called to reflect God’s love and care for others. This means reaching out with kindness, compassion, and genuine interest to those around us – whether friends, strangers, or even enemies.
The Bible has a lot to say about the importance of being friendly and building healthy relationships. Looking at biblical principles and examples can help us understand what it really means to live in a friendly manner that honors God and blesses people. Examining Scripture also shows us the tremendous value God places on true, Christ-centered friendliness.
In the famous King James passage, the Bible reminds us “to love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). Being friendly to others demonstrates this kind of Christ-like love. It means moving beyond our comfort zones to care for, connect with, and support people in word and deed.
Living in a self-centered society, it’s easy to focus only on pursuing our own interests and happiness. But Jesus calls us to move beyond selfishness and reach out to others with grace, empathy, and understanding. This goes hand-in-hand with the second greatest commandment Jesus gives: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39 KJV).
What does living this out look like in practice? The rest of this post will explore principles and practical examples from Scripture about what it really means to be friendly in a way that honors God and blesses people. You’ll be encouraged and challenged to live out Christ-like friendliness in your own life.
Key Takeaways about Being Friendly from the Bible
Here are some key biblical truths about being friendly:
- Being friendly reflects God’s love and care for people. As followers of Christ, we are called to emulate God’s grace and compassion in our relationships.
- It involves moving beyond our comfort zones to humbly serve others. True friendliness is not always easy or comfortable but flows from a heart of love.
- We are called to be friendly even to strangers, outcasts, and enemies – not just those who are easy to get along with. Christ-like friendliness crosses social boundaries.
- Being friendly includes speaking words of kindness and encouragement to build others up. Our speech should impart grace to those who hear it.
- Genuine friendliness requires investing time in relationships and having an interest in others. It goes deeper than surface-level niceties.
- The Bible gives us many examples to emulate of godly people showing Christ-like friendliness. But ultimately, Jesus is our highest model of loving others well.
With these key principles in mind, let’s look at what the Bible says in more detail about being friendly. God’s Word provides rich insight into how we can live this out in practical ways.
Reflect God’s Unconditional Love and Care
The most fundamental way to be friendly is to reflect God’s unconditional love and care for people. In 1 John 4:7-8, the Bible tells us “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
This teaches us that showing uncompromising love is central to our identity as followers of Christ. And this love should extend beyond just those who are easy to love – like family and friends. In Luke 6:32, Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”
As Christians, we are called to take the initiative to show care and concern for all people – regardless of differences or how we may be received. Reflecting God’s heart of compassion should be the basis for all our friendships and relationships.
When we reach out with unconditional love, we reflect the Lord’s kindness and graciousness to a world in need. The Bible says that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). He loves people lavishly. As His followers, we are called to mirror that generous love through friendliness.
Move Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Stepping out of your comfort zone is crucial to showing Christ-like friendliness. It’s often much easier to be friendly toward people you naturally click with. But Jesus calls us to go further and extend grace and love even when it feels awkward or difficult.
In Luke 14, Jesus told a parable illustrating how we should be willing to interact with and serve those who can never repay us:
“When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:12-14)
Though it can be uncomfortable, reaching out to those in need reflects God’s heart in tangible ways they will never forget. And when we humbly serve others, God promises it will result in blessing.
Stretching ourselves requires initiative and courage. But when we act in faith, trusting in God’s help and boldly stepping past barriers that divide, we can make a real difference in people’s lives. This brings joy and purpose when we know we are living out God’s call to genuine friendliness.
Include the Outcast and Foreigner
Being friendly as followers of Jesus includes crossing social boundaries to care for marginalized and overlooked people – not just those who are easy to embrace. These include the poor, the foreigner and the social outcast.
In ancient Jewish culture, Samaritans were despised and rejected. Most Jews would go to great lengths to avoid contact with Samaritans or even walking through Samaritan territory. But Jesus modeling a different way. In John 4, He went out of His way to encounter a Samaritan woman, treat her with respect, and offer her the gift of living water. She was touched so deeply that she ran to tell her whole village about Jesus.
This example reminds us not to exclude or shun people who seem different, unworthier, strange or difficult to relate to. As Jesus’ ambassadors, we can break down barriers by engaging people with genuine interest and compassion.
The Bible repeatedly calls on God’s people to care for the foreigner and vulnerable. God tells Israel, “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:34)
Though it may seem out of our comfort zone, we need to actively befriend and stand up for minorities, immigrants, refugees, and all who are marginalized. That is true, Christlike friendliness.
Be Kind in Your Speech
The way we speak to people has a huge impact on our friendliness. Scripture tells us our words should be gracious, uplifting and kind – the opposite of hostile, derogatory or demeaning speech.
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
And Proverbs 16:24 tells us, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
Making the effort to speak kindly, even when we’re irritated or having a bad day, demonstrates care and respect to others. Things like greetings, affirmation and compliments cost us little but can deeply encourage others.
Jesus perfectly modeled this gentle way of speaking. Even while being unjustly abused and mocked during His crucifixion, He prayed on behalf of His tormentors, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Under the most dire circumstances, He spoke graciously. This is the pattern we should aim to follow.
As Christians, let’s be known for speech which builds up and imparts grace – not hostility or unkindness. The right words at the right time can make a world of difference.
Invest Time in Relationships
True friendliness goes deeper than quick gestures or surface level niceties. The Bible gives us many examples of investing time in relationships and caring about others personally. Jesus himself modeled this throughout His earthly ministry.
Though He could have acted aloof as the Son of God, Jesus showed sincere interest in people by spending time visiting their homes and getting to know them. He built close bonds with His disciples through three years of life together. Zacchaeus was shocked when Jesus invited Himself to his house and shared a meal, taking time to engage with him personally (Luke 19).
We follow Christ’s model when we open our lives and take time to care about others as individuals. Hospitality, listening ear, kindness in little everyday ways – these things build bonds of friendship when done from the heart.
As Paul wrote, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10) This type of care and honor flows from truly valuing our brothers and sisters in Christ. It goes deeper than obligation or guilt.
Cultivating this mindset takes intentionality and sacrifice. But investing in relationships as Jesus did is essential for living out biblical friendliness in ways that benefit others and please God.
Be Patient with Difficult People
Showing grace and patience with prickly or difficult people is part of true Christlike friendliness. We all have flaws. Remembering this should help us extend mercy to others who may rub us the wrong way or have annoying habits.
Several verses instruct us to “be patient” and “bear with one another” such as Ephesians 4:2, Colossians 3:13, and James 5:7-8. Patience helps smother potential conflicts that can arise.
Jesus exemplified extraordinary patience when harshly provoked. In Luke 9, John and James wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy a Samaritan village that rejected them. But Jesus rebuked them, refusing to retaliate. (Luke 9:54-55).
And amid Jesus’ sham trials, the high priest’s servants slapped and mocked Christ though He was innocent. Jesus calmly reasoned with them rather than lashing back. (John 18:22-23).
Though it’s challenging, striving to be patient and forgiving honors Christ. The Bible says “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11). As we grow in patience, we become more compassionate and Christlike.
Don’t Compromise Biblical Values
However, showing biblical friendliness does not mean compromising convictions or embracing sinful behavior in the name of “tolerance.” We should uphold biblical values with conviction. At times this means speaking hard truths – yet always with a goal of redeeming others, not condemn them.
Paul wrote, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11) He confronted sin directly yet with the motive of restoration. Likewise, Jesus rebuked hypocrisy in the Pharisees but still treated them with love and compassion, calling them to repentance.
We too must hold firmly to moral truth while conveying it with Christlike grace. God may use our lives and witness to help others find freedom from harmful behaviors and mindsets. This balance honors both biblical holiness and compassion.
Be a True Friend
The Bible describes the blessings of true friendship, which should characterize our relationships as Christians.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17) A genuine friend is faithful during good and bad times.
In Ecclesiastes, we read of the value of supportive community: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
And Jonathan perfectly exemplified sacrificial friendship toward David in the book of 1 Samuel. He repeatedly intervened to protect his friend against harm – even from Saul, Jonathan’s own father.
These portraits show what the Bible celebrates in friendship – going beyond distant politeness to affection, loyalty, enjoying life together, bearing burdens, and offering counsel. The warmth and care shown in these relationships should mark our friendships as Christians.
Be a Forgiving Person
Forgiving readily is key to maintaining godly friendships and showing grace to others. We are all sinners, so it’s crucial not to hold grudges and allow bitterness to destroy relationships.
Colossians 3:13 tells us, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
In the story of the Prodigal Son, the hurtful son was welcomed back joyfully by his forgiving father. We too should emulate God’s forgiveness to those who have wronged us but come back repentantly.
Being quick to forgive reflects God’s reconciling love at work through us. It brings freedom and restoration to relationships damaged by sin and conflict.
As Christ said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7) Let’s strive to extend such undeserved mercy and forgiveness constantly to others.
Love and Pray For Your Enemies
Among the most counter-cultural yet powerful ways to show Christlike friendliness is to love our enemies. In Luke 6:27, Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” He said this while delivering perhaps His most famous sermon, The Sermon on The Mount.
Rather than retaliation or bitterness, He calls us to proactive love through tangible actions. And Romans 12:14 adds, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
In times of conflict, we should prayerfully examine our own hearts first, take responsibility for any fault, and seek reconciliation. We do not have to accept mistreatment – but our standard is loving response, not escalating disputes. This models the patience and grace of Jesus.
Praying for and doing good to enemies breaks destructive cycles of offense and vengeance. It has transformative spiritual power. As Romans 12:21 promises, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” This is the Christlike path.
Be Compassionate Like the Good Samaritan
One of Jesus’ most famous parables – the Good Samaritan – gives a powerful lesson on acting with compassion toward those in need. A Jew traveling to Jericho was robbed and beaten. But two Jewish religious leaders ignored him. Shockingly, the one who stopped to help was a Samaritan – supposedly an enemy. (Luke 10:25-37).
This illustrates that true godly compassion crosses racial, ethnic, political and religious divides. It involves personal sacrifice to meet strangers’ needs – paying for the man’s care from the Samaritan’s own pocket.
We live out this parable when we attend practically to the hurting around us, at cost to ourselves. Whether binding up emotional wounds or providing food, shelter or financial aid, practical compassion reflects Jesus.
By loving even “the least of these,” we express Christlike care for others. Our assistance helps relieve suffering and restores human dignity, showing God’s grace.
Let Your Light Shine
As Christians, our friendliness is ultimately meant to draw people to glorify God as they see His love. Jesus taught that we are to let our light shine so that others may know the Father.
In the Sermon on the Mount He said: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Our Christlike friendliness is part of letting that light shine. When people experience unexpected grace through our genuine care and interest in them, it testifies to God’s transforming love.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can powerfully reflect Jesus’ servant heart in our relationships. Our friendliness should always point to the greater Friend we have in Christ.
Examples of Biblical Friendliness to Follow
In addition to Jesus’ perfect model of outgoing interest and compassion for people, the Bible gives us many other inspirational examples of faith-filled friendliness to emulate. Here are a few key ones that stand out:
Barnabas – Known as the “Son of Encouragement,” Barnabas generously supported Paul and John Mark in their ministries, despite their human flaws. His encouragement helped restore and strengthen fellow Christians (Acts 4:36, 9:26-27).
Dorcas (Tabitha) – This generous, charitable disciple in Joppa was “always doing good and helping the poor.” Her Christlike care blessed many widows in need (Acts 9:36-39).
Lydia – Though a successful businesswoman, Lydia generously opened her home to Paul and his companions in Philippi, offering them hospitality (Acts 16:13-15, 40).
Onesiphorus – This faithful friend of Paul’s visited him in prison at great personal risk and “refreshed” him in his isolation (2 Timothy 1:16-18).
Ruth and Boaz – In the book of Ruth, their extraordinary sacrificial care and protection of each other amid adversity models deep covenant friendship.
As the Bible shows through their examples, true Christlike friendliness goes the extra mile to bless and build up others. When we follow their pattern, our lives too can powerfully reflect God’s care.
Being friendly from a biblical perspective is so much more than casual social niceties. It means demonstrating selfless, compassionate care that conveys the heart of God to those around us.
This kind of friendliness lays down personal comforts and agendas to enter into others’ lives, meet needs, and reveal Christ’s love. It breaks down walls of suspicion or hostility, builds bonds of Christian fellowship, and draws people closer to God.