Friendship is one of the most basic human connections. And healthy friendships are strongly encouraged and displayed throughout the Bible. What kind of friends does God want for you? And what kind should you be avoiding? Luckily the Bible makes all this very clear for us.
We Need Friends
In this busy world of technology and growing separation from human connection, many people have lost sight of one of the most important human connections - friendship. As we grow older and often busier, our time becomes limited and finding time for friendship may seem less important than it once was. However, friendship has long been associated with stress relief, encouraging a healthier lifestyle by increasing participation in activities, and boosting self-esteem, as well as providing encouragement and support!
What the Bible Says: Ecclesiastes 4:9-10: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
Having good friends can encourage you to be a better person, and to lead a more fulfilled life; Proverbs 27:17A says, “Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” However, having the wrong friends can create as dramatic of an effect on your life, just in a detrimental fashion.
Be Careful of the Company You Keep
Sometimes it’s easy to understand why someone may not be a great friend to us. But often even though we know someone may not be the best influence,we may find ourselves holding onto them for many reasons. Maybe we pity them, feel we can change them, or are drawn into their worldly differences. Proverbs12:26 tells us, “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
Sometimes the problem we find ourselves in isn’t as clear as someone being an outright bad influence. On the surface someone may seem to be all the things we want in a friend; kind, funny,and supportive. But do they encourage you to live a Godly life? Are they helping you along your journey to learn and grow in Christ? 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.” The people we surround ourselves with have a large impact on who we are, and on who we become. You cannot walk closely with the Lord and closely with those against Him.
But imagine how much you will grow and be uplifted by a friend who encourages your growth in the Lord? In Proverbs 13:20 we read, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” A friend who is equally chasing after Christ is a friend who will help you to achieve the things you seek from this life, as they are after the same things.
Love Your Friends
So many answers to our questions can all be resolved with such a simple answer: love. Such is the case for the question of how to be a good friend to others. Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people,holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
When you are in doubt about how to handle a situation, about how to be there for someone, or to encourage and uplift another, love should always be your guiding principle.
Honesty is one of the most important things in a friendship. So many people believe they should tell others what they want to hear or placate them with kind words to be kindhearted. This is not a kindness. A true loving friend will tell you the truth, the things you need to know, as they care enough about you to look out for your best interests. It is often those who may seem the most direct that care the most, as they care enough to share with you the truths that others may not provide you. What the Bible Says: Proverbs27:5-6, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
The truth can hurt, but it’s better to hear the truth from someone who is helping you avoid a downfall, than someone who tells you pretty things and watches you fall.
Hold on Tight
So many things can be learned from going through times of hardship. One of the most important things we discover is who our true friends are. It’s easy to be a fair-weather friend, to laugh and come together when things are going well. But how blessed are we to find friends who will stand next to us in our most difficult times, love us when we’re at our most unlovable, and keep us steady in prayer? What the Bible Says: Proverbs 17:17,“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
Not all of our friendships will be perfect, as nothing but God is. However, we should strive to maintain and foster close and healthy friendships with people who want the best for us, as we should encourage the best for them. And although some of your friendships may not be with other Christians, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue sharing the Word with them, praying for their salvation. Our love for the Lord should be our guiding principle in all things. And how to make, maintain, and be a good friend is not the least of those things.
Cheerfully in Christ,
About Castle of Faith: We believe that all scripture is inspired by God, and want to share His Word with you through our daily walk with Him. We're a family-run, Christian Organization Proud to be minority and female owned and operated.