Making and Keeping Friends
Hi, Mike Mazzalongo here for BibleTalk.tv. Today, I'd like to talk about the making and keeping of friends.
We know that friendship is an important part of life. A good friend brings us joy and good times. We usually turn to our friends for comfort and help when we are in trouble or sad. It is no wonder that for about 10 years the #1 program on TV in the U.S. was entitled "Friends" and week after week each episode simply showed a group of friends hanging together. These people seemed to have what everybody wants: friendship.
Well, God understands the necessity of these kinds of relationships. He even refers to people like Abraham as His friend. Because He understands and encourages friendship, God provides us with teaching in His word about how to make and keep friends.
How to make friends.
Now, when it comes to making friends, there is the right way and wrong way of doing it.
1. The wrong way is to give them whatever they want.
Wealth adds many friends.
- Proverbs 19:4
People with money can buy friends. The idea is that you do what they want you to do in order to get them to like you. Buy them off with money or if you are not rich, act like them. Talk and dress like them. Compromise what you know is right in order to "fit in." This is the easy way to gain people and be accepted but the problem is that you don't really make friends this way. You just join a group. Being in a group is not the same thing as having a friend.
2. The right way is to be the best that you know how to be.
Again, Solomon says,
He who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.
- Proverbs 22:11
You see, the way to make true friends is by demonstrating the best qualities that you have and that you are striving for. When you demonstrate honesty, kindness, purity, wisdom, etc, even leaders will notice and admire you. These qualities will attract people to be your friend. Everybody notices a "bad" boy, a wild girl, but nobody really wants to be their friend. Proverbs 27:17 states that:
Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
- Proverbs 27:17
Look for friends who will challenge you to be better, or try harder; people you can admire and who can teach you things, not people you have to make excuses for.
How to keep friends
Once you have friends, the next challenge is to keep them. We know that making friends is difficult, but keeping them is even more difficult. Solomon, who was the wisest man who ever lived, gives us some insights on how to keep the friends we have:
1. Proverbs 16:28
A perverse man spreads strife and a slanderer separates intimate friends.
The point he makes here is that we should not talk badly about our friends to others, they will always find out and it will kill your friendship. If you have a problem with your friend, pray about it looking to yourself; go to your friend first and try working it out; if it works you have made your friendship stronger, if it does not, at least your conscience is clear and the door is always open for reconciliation. Don't be friends with those who talk badly about others because in time they will talk badly about you.
2. Proverbs 17:17; 18:24
A brother loves at all times…
There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
The admonition here is to stick to each other no matter what happens. A real friend is your friend even when you fail; when you get sick, weak, unable to keep up; when you become more successful than they. A real friend is there for you even when you do not deserve a friend and if you want to keep your friends you have to be there for them, even if it costs you something… especially if it costs you something. Real friends usually cost time and money but they are worth it.
I hope that you will all find and keep good friends. Life teaches us how difficult this really is. You can do this if you remember how Jesus made and kept His friends:
- He showed them His best qualities, His most loving attitude and they came to Him and stayed with Him.
- He never spoke badly about His friends even when they failed Him and were not there when He needed them.
- He stuck by His friends, even died for them. You see, there should have been twelve crosses on Calvary because the Jews wanted to get rid of Jesus and His friends but they ran away so only Jesus was left.
Jesus teaches us what real friendship is capable of:
Greater love hath no one then this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
- John 15:13
I hope you find a friend like this and even if you never do, realize that you already have one in our Lord and friend, Jesus Christ.
That's it for today. Take care and God bless you all.
- Describe the reasons that led to you losing a good friend. How could this have been avoided?
- Is making new friends easy or hard for you? Why?
- What could you improve in yourself that would make you a better friend?