Friendship is a topic near and dear to my heart, as it's been a central theme of my life since my very first days of school. Lately, I've been growing simultaneously in my faith and my friendships. This led me to believe that I could tackle this article without a problem.
Turns out, friendship is much more multidimensional than I originally thought. Even as I'm writing this, I have to admit I'm nowhere near perfect; I'm constantly learning things I'm doing wrong. In spite of this, I work hard to consistently strengthen my relationships and am slowly learning the right way to handle criticism and compromise.
All that to say, friendship isn't always an easy topic. But, it's an important one and I hope you get as much out of this article as I got from writing it. Here are nine songs that celebrate friendship.
Hillsong Kids "My Best Friend"
This song, albeit written for children, has a message Christians of every age need to hear. I think because it is meant for kids, it hits differently. Characterizing Jesus as our king and savior, although true, can make Him feel distant. The abandoned feeling enters easily if we adopt the mindset that He's just a hero who picked us up and then swept off to save someone else's day.
Guarding our hearts against that lie is crucial. In truth, after redeeming us from our sins, Jesus stayed with us to preserve an intimate and loving relationship. He's always by your side. "Jesus you are my best friend/And you will always be," they declare with trust, "Nothing will ever change that."
Matt Maher "What a Friend"
Popular contemporary artist Matt Maher does an amazing job vividly describing the perspective shift that accompanies recognizing Jesus as both our savior and friend. 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here."
We have no reason to revisit what we have surrendered to Jesus. If you leave something at the altar, don't pick it back up. You have Jesus, now. And oh "what a friend" He is; now "I see grace on every horizon/And forever and ever His heart is my home."
Hillsong Young and Free "Best Friends"
I've noticed lately as I've dove deeper into the fight against anxiety, that many just brush it off as "normal." They seem to have the following perspective: because a large portion of the population now struggles with it, it must be okay to live with. However, the exact opposite is true. While it's okay to struggle with, negative thinking shouldn't take over your lifestyle.
So yes, "all of my best friends are sick of pretending" that numbness is the new normal. As Hillsong Young and Free stresses in this song, "we want the truth" of God to shine a light in our desolate society. I encourage you to reach out to your friends and remind them they're not alone. But don't stop there! Help them leave their pain at the altar and be refilled with the joy of the Spirit. My declaration today stems from the lyrics of this song. I know this world is not my home, I know anxiety is not my life, I know none of this defines me because God, the "real thing... is you."
Skillet "Those Nights"
"Stay up late and we'd talk all night/In a dark room lit by the TV light." As rock band Skillet's lead vocalist John Cooper belts out this chorus, he brings to mind some of my favorite moments with my friends. Most importantly, these lyrics remind me that friendship is not defined by outward appearances but rather, by loyalty and love in the midst of despair.
During the worst of times, friends are the glue that keeps me sane and I am so grateful to have this song that emphasizes this truth: "Through all the hard times in my life/Those nights kept me alive."
Grace Graber "Darkness"
Upcoming contemporary artist Grace Graber's music has a special breath of reality embedded within each song, especially this one. She says that "darkness is about the internal struggle of keeping something a secret in the dark." Written from the perspective of someone who has gone through these battles before, it is an approach that I, for one, could really identify with.
Satan loves to put lies in our head, telling us no one listens to us, no one cares about us, and so on. But it only takes one person to pull you out and tell you "It's okay/You're really normal/Don't think/That you're in trouble." We're not here to define who that person is, that's up to you, and if you don't have that person, God is always there. He focuses on you and begs you to exit the hole you're in. With care, He sings over you, "Come on and speak/I'm listening/You can find in/Me a friend."
NEEDTOBREATHE "Forever on Your Side"
In this song, the popular rock band NEEDTOBREATHE presents a message of trust that rings a bell in my brain for everyone who has supported me over the years. I've learned it's important to remind our loved ones of their worth. Being on the outside often gives us a more clear view of who they truly are. When Satan tries to skew their view on their value, we have to be the friends to remind them, "don't let 'em keep you down/Cause you're always tough enough/And I'll always be around."
I highly suggest sharing this song with the ones you love and reminding them daily of their worth. All it takes is a few words to brighten their day. Make someone smile today; you won't regret it.
For All Seasons "Friends"
This song speaks about how involved we get with our own negative cycle of thoughts. We don't even stop to think about what could break it. I relate to the independent personality, but the truth is, we can't do everything alone. As this track from For All Seasons expresses "Sometimes it's so hard to admit/That I needed a friend/To see me through the mess of myself" but truly I "don't wanna do this alone" and a friend is a perfect solution to both those dilemmas. I recommend watching the song's music video: it's creative and features other notable Christian artists as well.
The Young Escape "Count on Me"
I once told my best friend if she ever said these lyrics to me, I'd probably cry. That may sound over-sensitive, but I bet you'll feel the same way after hearing this song. The pop band The Young Escape perfectly captures the "you can count on me" aspect of friendship. This song was a sweet discovery for me instantly accompanied by gratitude for the friends I have who are the epitome of these words.
The Young Escape has clearly poured much creativity, full of passion and hope, into this beautiful song. No matter how much we want to, sometimes we can't heal the wound of the ones we love. All we can do is be by their side and hold their hand through the pain and if that's done with love, it's enough. The anthem sings, "If you're struggling to breathe/Remember you can count on me...Love you till I die, be the air you need/You can count on me."
Sanctus Real "We Need Each Other"
Contemporary band Sanctus Real's single "We Need Each Other" is as much about forgiveness as it is about friendship. This layering of ideals makes it remarkable even almost a decade after its release. The band explores the necessity of needing someone to walk beside them through life. A beautiful balance of love and support, but one that doesn't prosper without communication. This caveat is emphasized in the song's lyrics: "Oh, and I don't want to lose you so there is nothing wrong with/Telling me what you need to keep our love strong."
It's important to keep in mind we are all just humans. We make mistakes; a friendship without forgiveness is just a wound you keep covering up with band-aids. If we want to preserve our relationships, we have to talk out the problems and accept apologies. Then, and only then, can we heal by moving on with love for each other.
The Afters "Life is Beautiful"
The perfect song to end this article with a flourish is one of the most sentimental songs I've ever heard. The contemporary band The Afters perfectly grabbed hold of my nostalgic spirit and drew me into this song the moment the chorus began.
The voices combined in this song soar and dive, all repeating the message: "life is beautiful." They give me confidence that although life is hard, with the help of everyone around me, I'll make it. They speak about my favorite moments, "All of the times/That make us realize/We have it all." I sit back and look around and take in how blessed I am, something I try to never take for granted. If you can't find anything to be grateful for right now, remember you have God watching over you. He's cheering you on, as are your friends. Sometimes, we just have to take a special second to reflect on that. Sit and contemplate until you come to the same conclusion I have: life is beautiful.
Selena Schulz is NRT’s youngest staff contributor. She loves God, music, reading, and writing.
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