By Tim Krejci
It always seems when we are younger and in grade school making friends was easy. There were no issues that would rise up except that maybe someone stole the ball from you. As we get older, however, friendships have become more complicated. There are more issues involved, and conflicts can run deep between friends. We can become more defensive, and it seems we find it harder to forgive and forget. God is a relational God, and He has made us relational people. So when it comes down to it, why is it so hard to connect to people and establish those relationships?
First, let me tell a story…
I have this one friend in my life that I didn’t know until we began working together last year at Journey Quest. When we first met, it was not an instant friendship but was more like dislike. We went through months of tolerating each other and not even trying to connect. There was no friendship bond what so ever. But at the end of the summer, we sat down, not cause we had to, but simply because we were the last guides to leave. During that time we became friends, and we understood where we were in our walk with God and life. We began to see one another for who we are. Now we are the goofballs of the group. We feed off of each other daily just trying to be crazy and drive others crazy as well. The truth is, he is my one friend in my life who I can go to about anything and receive the advice that I need and not just what I want to hear. Truth be told I, wouldn’t be where I am today without him and his constant support.
So the question is how does this story relate? Let’s read and find out.
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” -Proverbs 18:24
In the book of Proverbs, it shows many words of wisdom on the subject of friendship. Interesting enough, quite a bit of wisdom. In many ways, Proverbs gives advice about friendship. It spends time describing and defining what friendship is. One of the primary qualities that Proverbs describes is the loyalty of a friend.
We all have had those friends that stick by us, but suddenly leave when times begin to get tough. We also have those friends that stick with us through thick and thin. Those are the friendships that show the loyalty of a brother.
“Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father and do not go to your brother’s house when disaster strikes you — better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.” -Proverbs 27:10
Another quality of friendship in Proverbs in honest council, a true friend must be lovingly honest and should help shape the character of a friend.
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” -Proverbs 27:6
Sometimes having friends can be a real pain. They can do things to us that we may not like or they may cause us pain that will cut us deep. If a friend says hard words to you out of love, it is better than a kiss from the enemy. True friends will rebuke you when necessary, pointing out the wrong that might have happened. This is not the easiest thing to do, and unless you are a real friend, you probably won’t say anything negative. So if a friend of yours in sinning in some way and it comes to your attention, the best and most lovingly thing to do is comfort them in a lovely manner and bring it to their attention
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” -Proverbs 27:17
Friends are not just there to be another in our company. As time goes on, friends begin to grow, and they become wiser and strengthen one another. They start to council one another as they sharpen one another up in areas that may or may not hurt. True friendship is built on these qualities. So if there is someone in your life who you consider your best friend, be open and honest with them. That’s the truest form of true friendship. The question is, are you a loyal and honest friend? Can you say the hard words to your friends? When your friend goes through a hard time are you the first one there with a hug and phone call or prayer? Or are you nowhere to be found? The Lord brought people in our life for a reason, just like my buddy and I. We trusted God brought us together for a reason. So let’s step out of our comfort zones and be true friends to one another.
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