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Friend of Sinners

By Tresa Barber

Be not afraid of their faces, for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. Jeremiah 1:8

Jesus is a friend to sinners. We see His example of friendship all through Scripture. We each have a circle of influence where God has placed us, and this is where He wants to use us to accomplish His purposes.

Friendship ultimately creates opportunities to share the gospel with our neighbors, coworkers, and acquaintances. As Christians, we will often need to make the first move in friendship. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly.”

One day, our youngest son was playing on a dirt pile next door that belonged to our neighbor. After a while, the neighbor came out and told us angrily that we should stay off the dirt hill. I was mortified, but I knew that he had a right to ask my child to leave. I apologized, and a few days later, my husband and I visited them with some homemade brownies. We had a nice chat and began a friendly relationship. Some months later, we had the opportunity to lead the couple to Christ.

I’m glad that God gave me the grace to apologize about the dirt hill and to reach out in kindness to them!

We moved to a new neighborhood three years ago. Living on a corner lot has allowed us to meet many neighbors as they walk by while we are out working in the yard. Covid happened when we had been here only six months, and not as many people went outside or stopped to talk.

The Lord put it on my heart one day to go across the street and speak to a couple whom I had not seen for months. The man answered the door, but he was stern and barely civil while I tried to make small talk and asked how they were doing. When I left, I felt it had gone badly, but to my surprise, they soon asked me to do them a favor, which I did, and we exchanged phone numbers. The lady now calls me from time to time, and we have a nice chat.

I am reminded of Jeremiah 1:8 which says to “Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.” I’m glad I visited them. I am hoping to have a Bible study in my home and invite my neighbor and some other ladies to come!

Both examples I have shared contain negative aspects.

But these are things that happen as we interact with people, and we can pray that God will work in people’s hearts in spite of things that we see as obstacles. My prayer is that God would help me to see more opportunities to show myself friendly, so that I might share the love of Christ!

**You can find more friendship encouragement in our Friendship Devotional.**


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