A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
It is a blessing from God to have good, close friends. A true friend will stick by you at all times (Proverbs 17:17; 18:24). How can we find this kind of friendship? It begins with examining ourselves. Are we friendly? If we want friends, good friends, we must be a good friend ourselves.
The Bible speaks much on the attributes of a good friend. As we look at a few of these principles, ask yourself, do these things describe me?
1. A Friend Is not a Whisperer “A whisperer separateth chief friends.” (Proverbs 16:28)
Do you gossip? Are you a whisperer? Are there things that you say about another person that you would not say in their presence? The Bible tells us specifically, Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people (Leviticus 19:16). Gossip can separate even the best of friends. When we gossip, we sin. When we listen to backbiting, or gossip, we sin. The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue (Proverbs 25:23). The next time someone comes up to you with a backbiting story, get an angry look on your face letting them know you do not want to hear it. It may be a long time before they come whispering to you again.
2. A Friend Speaks Graciously He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend. (Proverbs 22:11)
If we, as followers of Christ, strive to be pure in our hearts, our words will be gracious. We live in a culture that laughs at rude speech, cutting remarks, and cruel put-downs. As Christians, though, we should strive to eliminate ungracious comments from our vocabulary. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man (Col 4:6). If we speak graciously, we will attract many friends. We will be the type of friend that people desire to have.
3. A Friend Rebukes Openly Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverbs 27:5,6)
It is in our nature to whisper behind another’s back. If I have a friend that is heading in the wrong direction, it is easy to go to someone else and say, “Can you believe what so-and-so is doing?” However, when I am face-to-face with this friend, I simply shake his hand and act like all is well. Doing this is deceitful. I am behaving like his enemy, not his friend! If we truly care for our friend, we will rebuke him if he is in sin. We must speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15). The truth may wound our friend, but as a loving friend, we have the responsibility to help. Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend (Proverbs 27:17). A faithful friend sharpens his friends.
Remember, only Jesus Christ was a perfect friend. However, we should strive to live as much like Him as we can. As we do, may we bring glory to Him in all our friendships!
Pastor Lee Smith
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