I’ve been reading about friendship this week. I’ve been thinking about the question: What makes for a good friendship? My dad taught me two things about friendships. The first is that you eventually become a reflection of the people you choose to be around. The second is that you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.Both have proved to be important life lessons for me.
The Bible gives great advice on what to look for in a friend. Proverbs alone contains an amazing wealth of wisdom on friendship. Proverbs tells us to choose our friends carefully. Proverbs 12:26 says “A righteous man is cautious in friendship.” Proverbs also gives a warning of what can happen if we hand out with the wrong crowd. Proverbs 22:24-24 warns “Do not make friends with a hot tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.”
Proverbs also speaks to the blessing that a true friend can be. A true friend doesn’t run at the first sign of trouble. A true friend wants to help in times of trouble. Proverbs says “A friend loves at all times, a brother is born for adversity.” A true friend is not afraid to be honest. A true friend won’t sugar coat problems. Proverbs 27:6 “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs even goes to so far as to say that there a type of friend who can be closer to you than your family. Proverbs “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who stick closer than a brother.” Where can I find a friend like that? Where can I find that kind of love, honesty, understanding and support?
In a world that seems to be becoming increasingly secular it seems to be getting increasingly difficult to find friends that share my values. I have a few close friends who aren’t Christians but there is some primary element of connection that is missing in our relationship. I don’t want to get rid of those friendships. Those friendships are important. At the same time I need to have friends that share that connection that comes with being united through the blood of Christ.
I need to have those friends so that by being around them I can be conformed to the image of Christ as we all work towards being made more like Jesus. In my LIFEGroup I’ve been developing those friendships. It doesn’t happen over night and it will happen at different levels with the different people in the group. I’ll be closer with some than with others. Still, I have a group of friends I can count on to be the type of positive friends that Proverbs describes. My prayer is that as those friendships grow I’ll have the opportunity to bring my unsaved friends into a LIFEGroup and into the body of Christ so we can experience friendship to the fullest. In the end it is God who makes friendships good.