Friendships are an integral part of life and are a blessing from the Lord! The Bible has much to say about right friendships.
Be a good friend
A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
The above scripture shows us that there are at least two levels of friendships. Friendships usually begin at an acquaintance level. They begin to develop because we have been friendly with someone and have shown interest in getting to know them. The level of closeness and intimacy grow in time as both people show interest in committing more time and energy. Then there is another level of friendship where a friend operates closer than a family member. These individuals have gone above and beyond just being friendly. They have taken ownership and responsibility for being there for their friend regardless of circumstances. As the saying goes, “They are not a fair weather friends!’
Do you have friends that stick closer than a brother? Are you a friend to some people who would consider you closer than their family?
Sometimes people pray for years for good friends, but they seem to struggle finding one. They have a good idea as to what they would like to see in a friend, but somehow it doesn’t translate into reality. However, if we evaluated ourselves based on the criteria we set for others, we would be in a better position to find and/or attract the right kind of friend!
For example, if we are looking for a giving and available friend, then we need to be giving and available. If we value reliability and consistency in a friend, then we can’t be flaky with others. If we desire to have a trustworthy friend, then we need to be trustworthy by being honest and forthright.
What kind of friend are you? Do you appear more friendly than you really are as a friend?
Choose your friends carefully
The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. Proverbs 12:26
“Evil company corrupts good habits.” 1Corinthians 15:33
As a believer, we can’t be casual about whom we choose to be our friend. Some people may be a lot of fun, but they can have a major character flaw such as gossip, lying, or anger. While you may enjoy spending time with them, you can find yourself being derailed or defiled by their actions or words. Friends impact our habits and relationships. Having fun is a factor, but it is not the most important factor in friendships.
Don’t look for flattery
He who speaks flattery to his friends, Even the eyes of his children will fail. Job 17:5
Flattery is a serious issue. The Lord doesn’t desire for us to flatter our friends nor does He want us to be flattered by them. Flattery is a form of deception where someone tries to gain advantage in a person’s life by telling them things that they want to hear. We need to restrain ourselves from participating in flattery. Also, we should not desire to be flattered by friends. Flattery may come in the form of agreeing with you on something that should be challenged. For example, if you start talking badly about your husband, instead of your friends asking you tough questions, they quickly agree and sympathize with you. This may give you a wrong perception of the situation. Friends are truthful and encourage us in the areas that we are doing well, and they challenge us in areas we need improvement.
Do you recognize when you are flattering others or others are flattering you? What are you willing to change in these relationships?