Recently, a French gentleman visited the United States and checked out our culture – including our megachurches. He found it curious that we held to a “new” religion that believes “God is your best buddy.”
“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 27:5-6
These verses on true friendship assume several things:
1) You have a friend you can trust,
2) You know the difference between a true friend and one who manipulates or flatters you, and
3) You are willing to listen to your friend’s words of rebuke or correction.
So, is God our buddy? I’m not sure a “buddy” fits this description of true friendship. A buddy might be someone we hang out with, but does a buddy tell us the hard truth when we need to hear it?
But God is our friend. After all, our father of faith Abraham was called the “friend of God.” Jesus also told his disciples that he would call them friends, not merely servants (John 15). God is indeed our friend if we trust him, if we come to him through Jesus Christ, and if we allow his words to do their correcting work.
This is sometimes painful – a friend’s rebuke is not compared to “wounds” without reason! But again, he’s not our buddy… he’s our friend.
(Note: The title of this post was grabbed from a song by Margaret Becker I happened to hear as I wrote this post. Not a bad song.)