Make Friends with Those Who Love God
An article specially designed for parents to read with their children
I AM thinking of the very best friend you can have. This one has done more for you than any other person. Do you know who it is? It is Jehovah God.
It is true that Jehovah is in heaven and we cannot see him. But he cares for us. He wants to be our friend. And the Bible shows that we can be friends of Jehovah. It tells us that the man Abraham, who lived long ago, was called “Jehovah’s friend.”—Jas. 2:23.
But how can we be friends of Jehovah God? Can we be his friends if we do things that he does not like? Jesus is a friend of God, and he said: “I always do the things pleasing to him.” So if we want to be God’s friends, we also need to do what pleases God.—John 8:29.
Many persons today do not love Jehovah. They do not want to study the Bible or do what God says. If you play with persons like that, will it help you to love God more? Or could it cause you to love God less? What do you think?
It does not please Jehovah if we make friends with persons who do not love him. Those persons can cause us to become just like them. Jesus did not make friends with people like those. His friends were persons who loved Jehovah God and wanted to serve him. Let’s see who some of them were.
Jesus’ closest friends were his apostles. They were men like Peter and John who traveled with him and helped him in doing the preaching work. Jesus spent much of his time with these men. They ate together. They talked about God together. And they did many other things together.
But Jesus had many other friends. In towns that Jesus and his apostles visited, there were families who loved Jehovah God. These people were Jesus’ friends too. He would stay with them. And they had good times together.
One family Jesus liked to stay with lived in the small town of Bethany. Do you remember them? There were Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus in this family. Jesus called Lazarus his friend. And the Bible says that Jesus loved all three of them.—John 11:5, 11.
Do you know why Jesus loved this family and enjoyed being with them? It is because these sisters and their brother loved Jehovah God and served him. And they also respected Jesus as the Great Teacher.
One time Jesus showed what is needed to be his friend. He told his followers: “You are my friends if you do what I am commanding you.” (John 15:14) So could a person be Jesus’ friend if he did not obey him? What do you think? No, Jesus made friends only with those who were willing to do what he said.
Many persons liked to listen to Jesus speak. But not all of them would do everything Jesus said. They may not have been persons who told lies or killed people. But still Jesus did not become their friend.
There is the example of a young man who came to Jesus one day. This man told Jesus: ‘I have kept the laws of God. What else must I do to get everlasting life?’
Jesus told him: ‘Go sell the things that you own, and come be my follower.’
When Jesus said this, the man became very sad. This is because he was rich and owned many things. He loved these things more than he loved God. So the man went away and did not do what Jesus told him to do. He did not sell his many things and become a follower of Jesus.
This rich young man was not a person who most people would say was bad. The Bible even says that Jesus felt love for him. But still Jesus did not become one of his friends.—Mark 10:17-22.
This does not mean that Jesus was not kind to persons who did not serve God. He was. He would even go to their homes and eat with them. This caused men to ask Jesus’ disciples one day: ‘Why is it that your teacher eats with persons that do bad things?’ (Matt. 9:10, 11) What would you have said? Could you have answered that question?
Jesus visited with these persons so that he could talk to them about God. He tried to help them to change from their bad ways and to serve God. Jesus did not go to their homes because he liked the things that those people did. These people were not really his friends.
Once Jesus visited the home of Zacchaeʹus. Zacchaeus was a rich man who had done bad things. When Jesus came to his town, a crowd of people were there. Zacchaeus, who was a small man, climbed a tree so he could see Jesus as he went by. When Jesus came to that tree he looked up and told Zacchaeus: ‘Hurry and get down. Today I will come to your home.’
Why did Jesus go to the home of Zacchaeus? Do you know? It was so he could preach to Zacchaeus. And the result was that Zacchaeus changed from his bad ways. He gave back the money he had no right to take, and he became a follower of Jesus. It was then that Jesus made friends with Zacchaeus.—Luke 19:1-10.
So Jesus made friends only with persons who loved and served God. He was kind to other people. He would even visit their homes to talk to them about God. But he did not make friends with them unless they became his followers. He did not even make friends with that rich young man who did good things but who would not serve God completely.
To be like Jesus, you and I must follow Jesus’ example. We should be kind to all persons. But we should not make friends with everyone. We must not make friends with persons who do not love God and serve him.
Why is it wrong to make friends with persons like that? What could happen if we did? We could become like those persons. We could lose our love for Jehovah God. So, let’s be wise and follow the example of Jesus, shall we? Let’s make friends only with those who really do love God.
“He that is walking with wise persons will become wise, but he that is having dealings with the stupid ones will fare badly.”—Prov. 13:20.