When you look at all your friendships from different walks of life what do you see? Are they similar, very different, scattered from close to distant? When I think of friendships I see a patchwork. Every piece is a different pattern, colour and design and somehow each piece is sewn together to form a large patchwork which both have an influence in your life and over which you yourself have influence.

Some friendships are inspiring and spur you on to greater things, others involve a certain amount of listening, some are fun and others are more serious, some are colourful and others are muted colours and then occasionally there are some which are unhealthy.

As a christian there are times when people will be drawn to you, when they see an element of God’s love and answers to some of their questions but there will be times which are antagonistic. These can be situations which go beyond the normal misunderstandings of life and are spiritual in nature. Matthew 10 says:

12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting.13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet…16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Shaking the dust off your feet sounds harsh doesn’t it? Do you ever lose your sense of peace around certain people or feel uneasy? Jesus tells his disciples that he sends them out as sheep among wolves. I think we sometimes forget that we are different from the world because his spirit lives in us. It is easy to get caught up in the everyday things and then feel caught out when we are in a situation with wolves, a little like the scene from the Lion King where Simba wanders into the graveyard of skeletons and is surrounded by hyenas. He’s scared and trapped.

God says to Abraham in Genesis 12 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;

Wow! These are strong words but they show something of the nature of God and his blessing.

We are called to be witnesses to all the earth but to walk with the wise; and the complex nature of our friendships ultimately needs to be a combination of friendships where we witness at times but also where we draw on the wisdom of the wise and are challenged with our mistakes or to draw closer to God.

When I look back on old friendships from school or uni with some of the people I thought have been the furtherst from God I have later found out that they became christians! Sometimes it was through things I said or from conversations with others but the point is that you don’t know where your friendships will go and where God will lead them. Some still stand, others are more distant but I would challenge you to pray that God will guide your friendships. I have started to do this and have been really surprised by the people who have been in contact more often and the ones who have drifted away. Sometimes I have been prompted to contact someone or heard from a friend who I haven’t been in contact with for some time. My times with friends have been so much more fruitful.

Each one though is part of a larger patchwork, some pieces are linked to each other but they are all a part of the larger arena of your life so pray that the patchwork would be his!