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Befriend: Create Belonging in an Age of Judgment, Isolation, and Fear

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  754 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Is "real" friendship too risky?We live in a world where real friendship is hard to find. Suspicious of others and insecure about ourselves, we retreat into the safety of our small, self-made worlds. Now more than ever, it's easy to avoid people with whom we disagree or whose life experiences don't mirror our own. Safe among like-minded peers and digital "friends," we reall ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published October 2016)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  754 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Katherine Jones
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
My husband and I have several friends who choose, very intentionally, to make friendship the center of their Christian ministry. This is a beautiful thing and, quite honestly, I think very much what Jesus had in mind when He discipled His followers. He modeled it Himself, showing that the best kind of witness begins with genuine friendship.

These friends do naturally what others — especially those who have grown up in a digital, online culture which by its very nature inhibits authentic friendshi
Rachel B
Jun 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
DNF'd at 13%.

Right from the get-go, I found myself in disagreement with Sauls on the value of various friendships. He compares "real" friendship to digital friendship, transactional friendship, and one-dimensional friendship. I get where he was coming from re: digital and transactional friendships, but then he described what he calls one-dimensional friendships: friendships that revolve around a single shared interest.

So in his mind, if you have a friend that you only ever meet with to go for bi
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: season-14
I couldn't get past this book's excessive use of clichés, namedropping, bloated use of adjectives, and overly flowery writing style.

Here is an example: "Tears are our stake in the ground, our tender yet tenacious protest against things like death, mourning, sorrow and pain – things that we know intuitively are not supposed to be."

Sounds nice. Is it helpful in grieving? In dealing with trauma? In building friendships?

My biggest frustration with the book is that it doesn't actually teach on
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most important books I've read yet this year. We studied this book as a church group, which allowed us to move slowly and really chew on and discuss each chapter, and the principles have already changed the way I see the city and the people around me. One of Sauls' main points is that we need friendships with people unlike us, as being in real relationship helps us to learn, to grow, to be challenged, and to become more like Christ. He really challenges the church and the ways ...more
Nathan Albright
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BuzzPlant in exchange for an honest review.]

There are some joys about getting books like this one in unedited edition for advance readers. One can see, for example, the elements of the book that wait until the end, such as the detailed footnotes for the citations and sources included in this book. Sometimes, though, one is missing content that one would really want, and sadly, in reading this book, the chapter I wanted to read the most was not incl
Nora St Laurent
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Take your time in reading this book. There is so much inside. The author states, “Real friendship is hard…There are other, less real versions of friendship. The less real version are “less” because they are less costly, less committed, less descriptive, less scary, less gritty, less gutsy, and less out-of-our-control than real friendship. But here’s the rub…Less “real” versions of friendship are also less rich. In the short run, they feel better and smoother than real friendships. But in the lon ...more
Dee Bell
Apr 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Do you feel that making friends has gotten harder since you became an adult? I do. Most of my remaining friendships were established early in my life. Honestly, I seem to have taken the aphorism, "no new friends" to heart. Even among those who I have recently befriended, I do not maintain the friendships. So when I saw the book Befriend: create belonging in an age of judgment, isolation, and fear by Scott Sauls available to review, I had to order it.

When I was a child, making friends was as easy
David J. Harris
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is about different categories of people we ought to befriend: not really about befriending itself. The introduction was solid - Sauls talked about the need for friendship in our disintegrated world. Quotes Lewis's Four Loves (how could you not?) but goes downhill from there. The most disappointing element in the book however, was not that it seemed it missed its mark entirely (which I believe it did) but rather the author's views on shame. Shame is a bad thing, Sauls said. This was fascinat ...more
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Convicting, thought-provoking, and balanced. Sauls has an interesting perspective on many current social issues. He offers much to think about without becoming "preachy", and he regularly directs you back to scripture. This a is a great book club or discussion group selection--could even be a small bible study.... a worthwhile read!
Porter Sprigg
An excellent book about compassion and the love of God which stretches to everyone, even those who we don't naturally gravitate towards. I deeply appreciate the kindness, thoughtfulness, and honesty with which Sauls writes. He communicates why we need to make friends and how to thoughtfully love those friends.
Kaitlyn Watson
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I got this book I was going through a rough time, struggling in all my friendships and wondering if friendship was even worth what it seemed to cost me. I saw the summery of this book, it asked the same question I had been for months "Is friendship worth it?"

I got the book ASAP, and when I started it I thought it was going to give me the answers I was looking for. Sadly it didn't.

Befriend is a book about finding the friendship you have in Christ, and how to be a friend to the various types
Rebecca  Cal
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Befriend... there are some great thoughts here. Many resonate with things I already believed, others were new thoughts. The last chapter was worth the whole book.
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m really glad I read this book. It’s insightful, humble, honest, and drenched in scripture. I’m really encouraged and inspired after reading it. It’s an easy read - highly recommend!!
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is surely an indictment of Western culture, but also very revealing, that this is a necessary book. But I do believe it is. For in an age of parochial self-interest, culture-war mentalities, and brutal ad hominem politics, the notion of friendship with anyone who is different from me in any way (politically, culturally, economically, physically, racially, educationally etc etc) seems hard to imagine. It certainly won't happen without a concerted effort or a degree of humility and readiness to ...more
Dec 15, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is rooted in the truth of the gospel. It offered me fresh eyes to see how the gospel impacts my heart, and in turn, my interactions with others. Knowing my deep brokenness and need for salvation changes how I connect with other people. The first and last chapters helped me understand this in a new way, especially to have a knowledge that everyone around me is in some kind of struggle. That impacts how they engage with me; and my personal struggles impact how I engage with them. This ha ...more
Pam Howell
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. Sauls does a wonderful job at establishing a biblical foundation and challenging the reader to be more like Jesus! I would highly recommend this book.
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Pretty basic. If you already have friends that cross cultural, racial, sexual identity lines, you don't need this book. If you live an isolated, Christian friends only life, you need this book.
Moses Flores
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-books
Probably the best book I read this year!!!
Ryan Hawkins
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was between a three and four star book for me. But in the end, he had such good things to say on some subjects that it was worthy of four. However, I do admit that on some subjects I did not fully agree with him. But I won’t get into all that here.

But as the for the things I didn’t like about the book. First, it seemed more like a collection of essays (as it was) than a gathered book. This was surprising to me, since every chapter is supposed to have this idea of befriending in it. In
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it
While I don’t agree with Sauls’ interpretation of scripture — or view of friendship — in every case, I would be missing his point if I rejected his book because of it. The message that came through in the 21 short chapters is that there can be a basis for friendship between me and anyone else, no matter how different we are. Though one may not have enough time left on this earth to consciously reach out to people in every one of Sauls’ categories, we all have the God-given capacity to open our h ...more
Suzie Waltner
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Befriend: Creating Belonging in an age of Judgement, Isolation, and Fear by Scott Sauls wasn’t quite what I expected in this book. But that’s not at all a bad thing.

In a world where much of our communication with others is via Facebook, text messages, instant messages, 140 characters on Twitter, or photos on Instagram, we’ve lost a lot of personal interaction. An opportunity to go deeper. Be more understanding. Give a piece of ourselves to others. In short, we’ve limited ourselves to our circle
Brandon Wilkins
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great study of friendship. Sauls lays out twenty different kinds of people whom Christians are called to befriend (Prodigals and Pharisees, Children, Other Races, Other politics, Strangers and Refugees, and much more).

This isn't a "how-to" book. Rather, Sauls's approach is to: outline the challenges or defaults outlooks we tend to have about each group, then he exposes the problems with our outlook, and how the Gospel changes our outlook.

Some of it will step on toes (like the chapters of pro-lif
Kevin Naylor
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Best book I read in 2017. To be honest I was surprised that this was the case. I thought this was be your average Christian living book that was helpful but not life-changing. I was wrong. And I can't say that about most books in the Christian living vein that I've read.

God used this book in a powerful way in my life to driving deep into my heart that kindness comes before repentance, that grace comes before morality. That this is how God has first initiated relationship with me. And that this
Mike Chang
Jun 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: listen
Its an easily accessible book with short chapters meant for contemplation and reflection on befriending. Good book with great reminders to befriend everyone because of Christ. However, it was not what I expected from his introductory chapter when Scott made a case for befriending and the importance of real/true (multi-dimensional) friendship compared to one-dimensional friendship. I was hoping he would get into greater detail about what he meant via real/true friendship, but the book continues w ...more
Marie Bungard
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've often given thanks for the many friends God has placed in my life in this season. Some younger, some older, some wiser, some funnier, some really awesome people who have made life so much more interesting.

Until I read Befriend by Scott Sauls I really hadn't thought of all the other possibilities for friendships. Those who are bullies, minorities, poor, rich, vulnerable, strangers, refugees, disabled, dysfunctional ...

God weeps over things gone wrong in this world (pg. 102). I'm sure He plac
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: church
This book inspired me to make more of an effort to be a friend to anyone God sends.

It was rich in real -life relationship building in a world where we tend as (Christians and not) to congregate in our own, little groups.

I will admit to being challenged in more than one of the areas I was reading. I was pushed from the inside to break through comfort zones and live beyond them.

This book teaches loving as Christ loved, radically and and with a greater love than found in this world.

Scott Sauls reac
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
Need a friend? I know I do

Friendship, real and intimate contact with another human being, is only possible through the lens of the cross of Christ. I learned so much more about this precious thing called friendship through this book. How do we respond to others with differing politics, church denominations, hobbies, job descriptions, wealth or power? Through Christ, our differences can become less and less as we accept the mercy he gave us all and we extend it to others. I recommend this book to
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I very much enjoy Scott’s writing. I am always challenged by what he has to say in my daily walk with Christ. I am learning to get outside of the us vs them mentality on many issues, and instead, seek compassion for those who are different from me, and show the love of Christ to all I come into contact with. I am thankful for how he speaks into all areas of life and all kinds of different than me. He is biblical, and keeps the focus on who Jesus is, what He was about, and how I can seek to do th ...more
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was really good and really challenging as loving others is not easy. I appreciated the perspectives, ideas from others examples, questions to ask myself and inspiration to love more. This is from the book “Befriend is a collection of 20 essays. Each essay attempts to explore a unique picture of real friendship. Real friendship happens when we move toward the people we are most tempted to avoid. These are the people who are best equipped to challenge our perspectives, push our buttons, ...more
Paul Pompa
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoy the overarching theme of this book, which is to step into relationships that both allow you to do His will for others but allows others to do God’s will in you. I disagree with his message in part regarding social justice, because it seems he stresses the need for us to appreciate the truth in the social justice movement without recognizing the truth of those who oppose it. I also feel like he supported the social justice movement without seeing the sinful underpinnings of those f ...more
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Scott Sauls serves as senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee where he lives with his wife Patti and two daughters, Abby and Ellie. Previously, he was a lead and preaching pastor for Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, where he worked alongside Dr. Timothy Keller. Scott has also planted churches in Kansas City and St. Louis and is a frequent speaker at confer ...more

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The must-read summer beach book is a kind of American tradition. The crash of the waves. The glare of the sun. The sand in the pages. Is t...
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“Faithful are the wounds of friends who show me a mirror, who praised the good in me but who also point out what's hurtful, because such wounds are surgical, not punitive. Such wounds are restorative, not insulting.” 2 likes
“Children provide us with a necessary gut check. They challenge the distorted value systems that inhibit us from loving well. They are God-given reminders of life as it’s meant to be. Don’t hinder the little children. Let them come to me. Jesus sweeping children up into his embrace is also an invitation—no, a command—to welcome them into ours as well. The children will be the better for it. And so will we.” 1 likes
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