Stuck Between Friends
by Major Karin Ramos, International Headquarters
Each person writes down the qualities of a good friend (honesty, loyalty, trustworthiness, patience, etc). Discuss the answers with the group. Create another list from the group's responses. Keep the list visible for later.
It is not easy to find good friends; you might even struggle to find a friend. Perhaps you are the only Christian among your friends. The values of your Christian friends may be quite different from the values of your unchurched friends; you may have too been in a position where you felt 'stuck' because of your values. Read the story of Sandra and talk about what you think she should have done.
Sandra was the only Christian in her class.
She really liked her friends but she knew that her values might make her uncomfortable at parties. She always found excuses not to go to them. On one occasion, the whole class was invited to a restaurant owned by Mia's parents. Sandra could not come up with any good excuse not to go, so she agreed to go. She knew Mia's parents would be there. When Sandra arrived she realised that the restaurant was closed and Mia's parents weren't there, just her friends. But she decided to stay. They ate a delicious meal together, but when she sipped her drink she noticed it tasted funny. The food was spicy and Sandra was really thirsty. She drank some more. She started to feel dizzy. Then, she was offered another drink; it tasted sweet, but it burned her throat when she swallowed it. 'What was that?' she asked. Her friends laughed, 'Hey, Christian girl, don't you enjoy a good drink?' They laughed even more. Sandra felt confused and embarrassed. Her friends had cornered her into doing something they knew she didn't want to do. She managed to get home and quickly disappeared to her room before her parents had the chance to smell the alcohol on her breath.
Should Christians be friends with non-Christians? The Bible says, 'He who walks with the wise grows wise but a companion of fools suffers harm' (Proverbs 13:20 NIV). Of course we should be friends with non-Christians, but we have to be firm in our beliefs. We should never think that we are better than our non-Christian friends. Christians follow biblical guidelines and are wise to stick with them.
Make sure you spend time with Christian friends so you can grow strong in your faith; your unchurched friends also need your company. When Jesus sent out his disciples to talk with non-believers, he sent them in pairs. He knew when two people with like-values were together it would be easier to stand up for what they believed. When you meet up with non-Christian friends, take another Christian friend.
Look at the words on the list and see which qualities you possess. If you want to have a good friend, be a good friend. Take time to pray for your relationships with non-Christian friends and for the strength to stand up for what you believe in.
Suggestion for working with different age groups
Large teen groups of diverse ages can be divided into same-age groups for the discussion. An adult in each group should lead the conversation, staying sensitive to teens who may find it difficult to make friends.
Major Karin Ramos