Real Friendship Includes the Gospel

Real friendship includes the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Many will disagree with me for this nit-picky point, but it is a point to be made, however tangential to the primary argument it is. I discovered an article via Twitter this week.

Overall, the article made good points. Mostly the same rational points made by every reasonable article concerning the “gay marriage” and “photographers, bakers and florists” situation. The point of the article was to explain that refusal to do a gay wedding is not the same as refusal to provide services to homosexuals in general…and that general service refusal is not actually going on. This point was well made.

But read the following excerpt from this article At DennyBurk.com (emphasis my own):

Consider the case of Barronelle Stutzman, a florist in Washington State who is being sued by the attorney general of the state for refusing to involve her business in a gay wedding. You can watch her in her own words in the video above, but here’s what happened. Stutzman had been serving a gay couple in her flower shop for over ten years. She considered the men to be her friends, and they considered her to be their friend. The two gay men said that throughout their decade long friendship, they did not know that Stutzman believed homosexuality to be a sin. She didn’t treat them any differently than anyone else. She was a friend to them and served them while knowing full well that they were gay.

Do you notice anything strange here? The two gay men said “they did not know that Stutzman believed homosexuality to be a sin” which followed a sentence about a decade long friendship.

Does that sound like friendship to you? Because it sure does not sound like friendship to me. The idea of calling yourself a friend to someone without having ever reached out to tell them how to be forgiven by God and reconciled through Jesus Christ would be laughable if it wasn’t so despicable.

Correction added 03/13/2015: I do not know for certain whether Stutzman shared the gospel with these men. What we may infer is that she didn’t confront their homosexual sin. It was wrong of me to assume she had not done so simply because they didn’t know her stance concerning sexual sin.

Friends love each other. Those who love others care more about others than themselves. When you love people, you tell them the gospel because you fear for his or her soul. (Romans 10:17)

I’m not talking about someone who claims to casually know a gay man, or has an acquaintance who is gay whom he barely saw. Remember, according to the story – the florist and these homosexual men were friends for a long time.

Friends don’t let friends go to hell without warning them. Friends care more about what is best for the other than their own feelings or fears or hurts. (Proverbs 18:24)

Real friendship includes the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Look, my goal is not to bash this woman or her lack of evangelism. It is entirely possible that the “friendship” being described in the article is an exaggeration. My point is that IF you consider yourself to be a friend to someone, and you’ve never gotten deep enough in a relationship for them to know you believe the Bible then you are not really a friend. This applies equally to me. Street preaching and passing out tracts is no excuse. And those acts, although noble, are no help to your friend when he meets the Lord. We must reach out to people we know, including our neighbors and those we call friends.

If someone doesn’t know that Jesus is #1 in your life, then you aren’t really a good friend.

I get it. I have a LOT of casual acquaintances. People who know me, and I know them and I haven’t shared the gospel with them or handed them a tract…yet.

I’m not talking about those folks: like the person who calls you his friend even though you just walk by him daily in Starbucks because you go at the same time – or you’ve seen him 10 times at the gym and barely said a few words to each other.
I’m referring to the people in your life to whom you actually consider yourself a friend: the people who would act shocked tomorrow if you told them the truth about your faith. (2 Cor 6:14-18)

This is the ultimate problem with the method of evangelism called friendship evangelism about which Tony Miano has written and spoken extensively already.

Real friendship includes the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Today is the day. Repent of your selfishness and your desire to be loved by men, and being making sure that people know what you believe. It would be better to simply be honest and forthright with them about it than to have them find out when you have to refuse them some service like what happened to the woman in the article. Worse, when all your “friends” find out you’re a Christian because people on Facebook start spamming your page to criticize your beliefs.

Just in case you are confused here’s a list of things I did NOT say nor imply:

  • You cannot be a friend to a nonbeliever or have a nonbelieving friend.
  • It is OK to refuse to help people because they are gay.
  • You must share the gospel with every person you meet or you are a bad Christian like the florist in the article.

In summary, here are things which I DID say or imply:

  • True friendship includes making known the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • If people around you are shocked that you are a Christian, you’re doing it wrong.
  • You and I are the problem. Not gays. Not the florist from the linked article. It is the failure of people like you and me to consistently share the gospel that is the problem.

So join me and let’s begin fixing the problem. Let’s herald the name of Christ and not be ashamed of the gospel for it is the power unto salvation. (Romans 1:16;10:13-14)

Because real friendship, real love, and actual Christlikeness include the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Added 03/13/2015: Although it is possible to “share the gospel” with someone and not confront their specific sin of homosexuality, I continue to maintain the position that to be considered friends with a person and for that person to have no idea that you consider homosexuality to be sin is problematic.

Many thanks to sister Kim Arnold for lovingly pointing out the fact that we truly do not know from the article whether Baronelle had share the gospel.

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