The Importance of Christian Friendships explores and illuminates the concept of having Christian friends. It reveals how such friendships can be different and how it centers itself on Christ to be the basis of the relationship. This enlightening book elaborates on friendship built by faith through Christ and magnifies the importance of Christian friendships.
When I first heard about this book, The Importance of Christian Friendships: In Good times and in Bad, by Beth Gable Hicks, I was immediately interested. I agreed to review the book and received it shortly thereafter from the Bohlsen Group, and I wasn’t disappointed.
What “they” said:
Life is full of transitions. As we grow up, we experience changes in schools—grade school, high school, and then maybe off to college.
Then life really gets confusing. The global economy often means job changes and relocating. Most of the time, we get married and have children along the way. Many of these changes are great, but others can be quite lonely and tough—divorce, empty nest, health issues, the loss of a parent or spouse are just a few examples.
Along the way, how do we hold on to the friends we make—not just the acquaintances, but the deep friendships that help us get through life, both the good times and the bad?
We may not be able to keep life from changing, but if we have faith in Christ, we can rely on his promise to supply us with Christian friendships. Are these friendships somehow different? If having a true Christian friend means being one, then how do we do that?
This book explores how Christian friendships are different, or at least should be different, and how we can reach out to others in that friendship. We need never be alone, especially when Christ is at the center of our relationships.
What I thought:
When I read the Table of Contents, I loved every single one of the 20 titles – clearly all of the things a real friend should be. I won’t list all the chapters, but I’ll give you a couple at random for examples: “They Are Understanding, Not Judgmental,” “They Seek to Praise First, Before Criticizing,” and “They Learn to Adapt and Not Be Stubborn”. WOW. I could take those 20 chapter titles, jot them down on a piece of paper and work on practicing those topics and the end result would be that I would automatically become a better person and a better friend.
After the Table of Contents, the book starts out with a poem from 1924 written by the author’s late grandmother, Paulina D. Stearns, about friendship. I felt that the poem set the pace for the book and I was immediately “welcomed” to keep reading, which I did.
Back to those Table of Contents titles, once you break the spine and get into this book, you’ll see that every chapter title is immediately followed with a corresponding Bible verse. I love that. And again, rather than list all the chapters, I’ll share with you the Bible verses that correspond with the titles I referenced earlier.
“They Are Understanding, Not Judgmental” – the Bible verse is Let him who is without sin among you, be the first to throw a stone at her. ~ John 8:7.
“They Seek to Praise First, Before Criticizing” – the Bible verse is Do not grumble, brethren, against one another, that you may not be judged. ~ James 5:9
“They Learn to Adapt and Not Be Stubborn” – the Bible verse is But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. ~ Romans 2:5
While the chapter titles and Bible verses are awesome, the “meat” inside the chapters is what this book is all about. The author, Ms. Hicks, allows us to take a glimpse inside her life as she shares stories of her past and present, the tragedy of her husband’s death, and how her Christian friends came through for her. She shows the difference of how situations are seen by Christian friends versus non-Christian friends and very honestly, she’s right on point. I found myself nodding in agreement over and over again while I was reading this book.
Ms. Hicks not only references these Bible verses, she weaves them into examples of how they apply to the world today and how they’ve applied in her life. She shares personal stories that the reader can identify with and gain motivation from.
Although this is the kind of book you pick up and read from front cover to back cover, I believe the book will also be a great reference book for me in the future. If I’m struggling with a particular topic, I believe I can refer back to the chapter in Ms. Hicks’ book that discusses that topic, re-read the chapter and perhaps gain some direction and clarity.
I know in order to have true friends you must be a true friend first, and to have those who will be there for you in good times and bad, you need to have your own personal relationship with God. I believe in the old adage, “birds of a feather flock together,” and it is up to each of us to become the best person can be. No one in this world is free from their own troubles, hardships and burdens, including Ms. Hicks. In choosing our friendships and ensuring they are with Christians provides us with the love, nurturing and support that we, as human beings, need and desire, as we share a mutual walk with God.
Beth Gable Hicks is a member of The Falls Church Anglican in Falls Church, Virginia and serves on the Altar Guild and Pastoral Care teams. A native Kentuckian, she was a political appointee during the administrations of George H Bush and George W Bush, and is currently the East Coast lead for AllSides, Inc. She earned her B.A. in Business Administration from Vanderbilt University, and her MPA from George Mason University. She is an active member of the DC DAR, and when she is not traveling or visiting family and friends, she resides in McLean, Virginia.
I was provided with a copy of this book without cost from Bohlsen Group in exchange for my honest review and unbiased opinion.