Tuesday, May 17, 2011

True Friendship

True Friendship
by Lisa

A thought recently on my mind has been what is true friendship?  The Bible tells us that “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17)  A friend loves all times…  Thinking about most of today’s friendships in this day and age, I can’t think of many friendships where a friend loves at all times.  Oftentimes we make friends and call them our best friends for about
a month, before tossing them off into the distance and finding a new set of best friends.  True friendship is constant.  Friendships will morph and evolve, but true friendship will not be there one day and gone the next.

Oftentimes the reason for this inconstant friendship is the fact that “so-and-so was unfriendly.”  Yet few look at themselves and evaluate their friendship and attitude.  Proverbs 18:24 states “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  Two things are plainly seen in this passage.  First it says that someone who has friends must be friendly; it is important to reevaluate your own attitude and friendship before pointing the blame at someone else.  Second, there are also some friends who are closer than a brother, as well.  This is important to realize as friendship is not to be treated lightly.

Many people also think that friendship means that no criticism should be given.  This is strictly against what the Bible says.  The Bible distinctly points out that a friend should give criticism and rebuke if needed and exhort one another to do right.  This is found in Proverbs 27:5-6 which says, “Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”  This is repeated again in the New Testament, found in  1 Timothy 5:20: “Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest may fear also.”  Luke 17:3 also affirms this: “Take heed of yourselves.  If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.”  True friends must rebuke and exhort as needed.

Proverbs 27:17 states “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  (NASB)  Friendship should be to build one another up.  It should be to encourage and exhort and correct one another, in a way that makes both individuals a better person.

Because of this, it is important that we surround ourselves with individuals who are strong in the Lord and will encourage, exhort, and even rebuke us if necessary.  Our friends are a reflection of ourselves.  If we surround ourselves with fickle, silly, inconsiderate, immodest, non-Christian friends, it affects our lives and how we act.  Now this is not to say that we can’t have other friends who are non-Christians, etc.  We still need to reach out to others and be a good witness.  However, those who we claim as our closest friends must be those that can encourage and build us up to be better Christians.

In a day and age where few are or have true friends, it is important for us to begin asking the questions “Are we a true friend?” and then surround ourselves with friends that will encourage us in a more Christ-like manner.

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