I have really been enjoying this series. It has been lessons that I need to learn. It has made me a better person and a better friend. OK, enough with that. Our next passage about friendship comes from Proverbs 18:24 and it says:
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.“
Being a good friend is hard. It takes work and effort just like any other meaningful relationship. I think the writer of this Proverb may have understood that. If we keep that in mind we could see how trying to maintain too many friendships could lead to ruin. However, I am not sure that is really what is in view here.
What I believe is in view is popularity. In high school some kids are obsessed with being popular. This shows in our culture. It is hip to be famous. It’s cool to be a star football player or actress. These people get idolized. That is what many kids strive for.
I had a dream that one day I would become a baseball player. I would be playing in some of the greatest stadiums and in the biggest games. People would have posters of me and everyone would know my name. People would always want to be around me. I was going to be popular.
That popularity can cause trouble. It can make you into a person that you are not. It can make you into the person that others want you to be instead of the person that you are.
Strive to have deep friendships with few instead of shallow friendships with many.
The previous post got me thinking and turned into a series of posts on friendship. Proverbs has a lot to say on this topic and Proverbs 27:5-6 is one. It says:
“Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”
Being a good friend is not easy. There are times in life where we, as Christians and friends, need to stand for truth. When the time to stand comes sometimes it will offend people. And sometimes the offended people are the ones we call friends. This is one of the hardest parts of friendship.
Conflict comes easy for some. For others conflict doesn’t come because they hate it.
However, everyone struggles with healthy conflict.
For myself unhealthy conflict comes very easily. I am quick to open my mouth but slow to give healthy advice to those that claim to be a Christ follower but are not living that way. In the last post I discussed that a true friend is loving at all times but I am quick to point out every negative characteristic or action they make. This can and has caused problems in my friendships.
The other side of the coin is just as dangerous. Not addressing the sin in a friend’s life can cause harm to the other person by allowing them continue in their unhealthy behavior. It also can hurt the individual ignoring the confrontation. Ignoring the conflict can create depression for not standing for their beliefs. It can create an apathy that has the potential to leak into one’s own spiritual journey. Not willing to address sin a friend’s life is not far off from ignoring sin in one’s own life.
The “wounds of a friend” shows true friendship because it is honest. It is true. And it is loving.
Are you able to confront your friends in love? Are you able to take confrontation from your friends?
I need to work in both these areas of friendship.
Friends are an essential part of life. When I was a youth minister I would point out to my students that choosing good friends is important. Good friends will encourage growth mentally and spiritually. Good friends will keep you out of trouble. Good friends will instill joy in your life through their companionship and love. The Bible speaks about friendship quite a bit. Proverbs 17:17 says:
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” -ESV
True friends are shown when times get tough. Friends will love you no matter what. No matter the circumstances a true friend will have your back. A true friend offers forgiveness and condolence. However, this isn’t solely about the people around us. It’s about us.
We should be friends that love at all times. I fail at being a loving friend constantly. I allow life to get in the way of having meaningful relationships at times. Loving friends are what we all need to have and need to be.
If you know of friends in your life that love you…thank them. If you haven’t been a loving friend…ask for forgiveness.