Yes! Yes, you can. Christians ask, “How can I socialize with people that have different beliefs than me and not be lead astray from God?
People tell you to be careful not to let non-Christians influence you negatively and say, “Don’t be “un-equally yoked” with a friend.” This can be good advice in some situations, but it can also stop us from loving and befriending others. I have many friends that I love who aren’t walking with God. That doesn’t stop me from loving them or being friends with them.
If we don’t befriend non-Christians, how will they hear about Jesus?
To find the answer to this question, lets look at the best example, Jesus. Jesus was friends with everyone, and had a small group of men who he was best friends with.
Here are some of the people Jesus befriended:
- Nicodemus- a Pharisee and part of the Jewish council.
- The women at the well- a Samaritan WOMAN who previously had 5 husbands. (Jesus, being a Jew and a man, should not have associated with her.)
- An adulterous woman.
- Judas- a betrayer.
- Matthew- a tax collector.
- Peter- denied Jesus 3 times.
Jesus was friends with people who believed in him and followed him, and he was friends with people who turned their backs on him. Jesus learned to never give up on someone. If you stop being friends with someone because of their religious beliefs, then you are giving up on them. If someone is pulling you away from God, then it might be a good idea to spend less time with them or hang out in a group setting, but never stop trying to reach out to them and be their friend.
I’ve been in both situations. I’ve had friends pull me from God because of our friendship and I’ve seen friends turn back to God because of our friendship. Each person and each situation is different.
Remember, Jesus had different friends, but he had 12 disciples who were he closest friends. Even out of the 12, he had men he was even closer with.
The people you spend the most time with will influence you the most.
Here is an example: go find a friend and a chair. Have one person stand on the chair and one person stand on the ground. The person on the ground represents a non- Christian and the person on the chair represents a Christian. The goal is for the person on the ground to pull the other down and the person on the chair to pull the other up. If you can, stop reading this and go try this for yourself.
What happened? The person on the ground pulled the person off the chair down more easily, right?
It’s easier to pull someone down then to pull someone up.
Do not ditch someone even if they begin to lead you astray. In college, I have seen some of my non-Christian friends give their lives to Jesus. That might not have happened if I would have walked away from them. This provided an opportunity for me to grow stronger in my faith, so I would not be led astray.
This is a hard topic to blog about, because each friend and situation is different. If you are struggling figuring out what to do, pray for wisdom and ask a mentor for advice. Maybe the best answer to the question is this: Have friends from all religions, but have your closest friends be Christians. Jesus was friends with lots of people, but his closest friends, the 12 disciples, were doing their best to follow him.
In college, join clubs, play intramural sports, and meet people who have different beliefs than you. This provides great opportunities to have spiritual conversations. You will grow in your faith because you will learn how to share the gospel with a non believer, how to show Christ’s love with them, and how to stay true to your beliefs.
Go out of your way to make all types of friends! Remember, how will anyone ever meet Jesus if Christians just stay in their bubbles?