Summary: True friendship is a gift of God, and a person who has a true friend should be thankful and appreciate that friendship. David and Jonathan are a beautiful picture of what true friendship is. What are the characteristics of a true friend?
Characteristics of a True Friend
True friendship is a gift of God, and a person who has a true friend should be thankful and appreciate that friendship. CS Lewis said that friends are people that face in the same direction toward common projects, goals – above all, towards a common Lord.” What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.” (The Four Loves) David and Jonathan are a beautiful picture of what true friendship is. What are the characteristics of a true friend?
I. A true friend is generous
A. Webster's New World Dictionary defines "generosity" as: "1. the quality of being generous; specif., a) nobility of mind, magnanimity; graciousness b) willingness to give or share; unselfishness 2) generous act"
B. Genuine friendship does not look for what it gets in return.
C. 1 Samuel 20:17 (NLT) "And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself."
D. Friendship gives without expecting anything in return. Someone said it this way, "A friend gives without expectation and receives without obligation,"
E. Philippians 2:3 "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself"
F. True friends are willing to invest time, talent, and treasure in their friendship.
II. A true friend is trustworthy
A. Proverbs 11:13 "A gossip goes around revealing a secret, but the trustworthy keeps a confidence."
B. You can trust a true friend. Not only will he listen, but he will also not tell others that which you do not want them to know.
C. Friends are people with whom you dare to be yourself. Your soul can be naked with them. They ask you to put on nothing, only to be what you are. They do not want you to be better or worse. When you are with them, you feel as a prisoner feels who has been declared innocent. You do not have to be on your guard. You can say what you think, as long as it is genuinely you. Friends understand those contradictions in your nature that lead others to misjudge you. With them you breathe freely. - C. Raymond Beran, in Bits & Pieces, September 19, 1991, p. 3-4
D. Proverbs 17:9 "He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends."
E. A friend is a person who does his knocking before he enters instead of after he leaves.
F. An enemy is better than a two-faced friend.
G. Part of discipleship is that of transparency between the disciple and the discipler. To achieve this there must be a bond of friendship that is established with a sense of trustworthiness where one can be oneself without fear of ribbing, ridicule, rejection, or rumor.
H. Proverbs 20:19 "He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets;
Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips."
I. A true friend will listen when you speak. He wants to understand how you feel and what concerns you. He will keep confidence. His concern is you. His desire is to help you to be who God wants you to be. He has your best interest at heart.
III. A true friend is supportive
A. A true friend will defend and "stick up" for their friends.
B. Jonathan was a genuine friend to King David. He defended him before his father Saul and when he realized that his father planned to kill David, Jonathan warned him and helped him escape.
C. 1 Samuel 19:4-5 " Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his works have been very good toward you. 5 For he took his life in his hands and killed the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great deliverance for all Israel. You saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood, to kill David without a cause?”
D. Walter Winchell has said, "A friend is one who walks in when others walk out."
E. Proverbs 17:17 "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity(to help in time of need).
F. When trouble or adversity occurs true friends step up to help.
G. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.
H. "Friends will build you up not tear you down; friends will inspire confidence not inflict criticism; friends will encourage bold faith not discourage taking risks; friends will support with heart and soul; not just those who stick around for the party" - Dan Anderson, Going Vertical Soaring to New Heights