Summary: A true friend will seek to make you a better person.

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"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." - Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

Today, I want us to think together about yet another aspect of true friendship. As our passage tells us, a true friend is one who builds you up. They will try to help you become a better person! how?

1. A true friend encourages you.

A true friend will help you do what you have to do!

They will seek to bring support to you.

Each of us has times in life when things come upon us that we wouldn’t choose to go through, but we, nevertheless, find we have to go through. It is at times like that we need true friends. True friends who will encourage us and help us do what we have to do by supporting us in the midst of it all.

Often times, this doesn’t even require us to say anything. It’s is simply enough that we are there.

A young boy was sent to the corner store by his mother to buy a loaf of bread. He was gone much longer than it should have taken him. When he finally returned, his mother asked, "Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick about you."

"Well," he answered, "there was a little boy by the side of the road with a broken bicycle who was crying. So I stopped to help him."

"I didn’t know you knew anything about fixing bikes," his mother said. "I don’t," he replied. "I just stayed there and cried with him."

Encouragement means coming alongside to impart courage to another. This is what a true friend does for us when we find ourselves facing things that we have to go through, whether we like it or not. They come alongside us to lend support to us.

A newspaper in England gave a reward for the best definition of a friend. Thousands answered, and the winning entry was this: "A FRIEND IS ONE THAT COMES WHEN EVERYONE ELSE GOES."

A true friend encourages you.

2. A true friend exhorts you.

A true friend will help you do what you ought to do.

They will seek to bring strength to you.

Other times in life, we find ourselves facing things we would really rather not have to deal with, but which we know we ought to deal with. Things that we may not fell we have the strength to face, but we nevertheless need to face.

It is at such times that a true friend shows his or her true colors. A true friend will seek to strengthen you so that you might tackle those difficult things in life that you know you ought to do, but cannot somehow find the strength to do.

General Ulysses S. Grant had a man who was a true friend to him like this. His name was John A. Rawlins. He was the General’s chief of staff. It was to Rawlins that Grant gave his pledge that he would abstain from alcohol. When he broke his pledge, Rawlins went to Grant and with great earnestness pleaded with him and successfully persuaded him to reaffirm his commitment to turning away from liquor.

Today, in front of the capital building in Washington, D.C., there stands a monument to General Grant, sitting on his horse in dramatic pose. At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue and a little to the south, is Rawlins park, where there is another statue. A very ordinary, commonplace looking statue of John A Rawlins, the man responsible for keeping General Grant from falling off his horse!

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