Have you ever had a friend who knew everything about you, and liked you anyway? Or who you could totally be yourself with? These are the kinds of friends many of us long for, and these are the kinds of friendships forged in Double Edge.
Double Edge is a group in the Y-ministry at the Bay Area Christian Church formed each summer for those teenagers who have made a decision to build a relationship with God. One of the additional benefits of double edge has been the relationships that have been forged during the experience. Those who have participated have become best friends.
For many teens, building best friendships can feel complex and challenging; at Double Edge we’ve found five biblical principles we’ll call the secrets to lasting friendships.
1. Feelings Matter
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5
Feelings- especially negative ones- can be hard to talk about. But God is all about bringing our feelings into the light – meaning, He cares about what we think and feel. God knows that the secret to building deep and meaningful relationships is openness. The things we struggle to be open with are usually feelings of anger, loneliness, insecurity, and jealousy. These are hard to talk about at youth activities, but God cares about those feelings, and wants us to be able to share them with him and people around us.
2. Family Matters
We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.
1 Thessalonians 2:8
What goes on at home is a big part of our lives. Teenagers have been through at least thirteen years of ups and downs with our parents and siblings. Over the years these ups and downs influence how we build relationships in and outside the home. The more we allow others to know our family and be part of our family the greater the ability to understand how our family’s relationship has shaped how we view and build our own relationships
3. Failure isn’t Fatal
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you.
Often kids who grow up going to church feel like they have failed when they sin, and don’t want to talk about it. But really, sin is just what we turn to when we are missing the love, security, and confidence that can only come from God. Sin separates us from each other, but honesty makes us closer. Being honest about sins in our lives exposes our need for God, and helps our friends know what we need too.
4. Faith Matters
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Friendships go well when your friendship with God is going well. How much do you talk to other friends about how your relationship with God is going? They might have answers that help you. Asking people what they are personally studying in their bible and why is a great way to learn insights and find direction for your own personal bible study.
5. Encouragement Matters
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
None of us can make it on our own – we need encouragement and friends to cheer us on when we get afraid – afraid of what other people think of us, afraid we’ll fail, afraid to stand out. Are you open and honest about your fears and insecurities? When you are, you can get encouragement!
In Double Edge, we learn these principles and fight to deal with feelings, family, failures, faith and fears. The result is friendships that last!