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Summary: To share the importance friends.

Everyone needs friends.

What is a friend? 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.

You don’t need to worry about your flaws and opening them up to friends, they are lost, dissolved. They understand.

You do not have to be careful. You can abuse them, neglect them, tolerate them. Best of all, you can keep still with them. It makes no matter. They like you. They are like fire that purges to the bone. They understand. You can weep with them, sing with them, laugh with them, pray with them. Through it all--and underneath--they see, know, and love you.

Everyone needs friends. Even a variety of friends.

Illustration: Show a variety of shoes. Each shoe is for a different occasion, etc. (running or tennis shoes, casual, dress shoes, fishing shoes, etc.)

Likewise, in some ways, we have friends for different areas of our lives. We have casual friends, close friends, work friends, social friends, etc.

Illustration: Jessica, 31, of Dix Hills, New York, said, "When I feel low, I always think, ’Well, I have a friend who is this and a friend who is that -- the super-successful impressive friend, the crazy creative friend, the beyond-loyal friend, the since-seventh-grade friend’ -- and it makes me feel better to be able to say, ’I am so good at having friends that I’ve got them in all different shapes and sizes!’"

All of us do have friends in different shapes and sizes. It’s possible that we just never thought about it in this way. I believe that we all need three types of friends.

I. The Feel-Good Friend.

A.We all need a cheerleader who believes in us. Such a friend rejoices with you when you rejoice and weeps with you when you weep. WHAT A GREAT FRIEND TO HAVE!

(Ecclesiastes 4:10) If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

1.Let’s face it, life is full of despair and moments that seem to tear us apart. Each of us needs someone in our lives that can help us along the way.

2.Most of us have some casual acquaintances that pass in and out of our lives and though our lives are impacted by all of our relationships, the greatest influence comes from those we call close friends.

3.Little teams of people, who help us try again when we fail, encourage us when we’re discouraged, lighten our load when it gets too heavy, and give us strength against the evil forces we all face.

Illustration: I remember my wrestling coach in the Army. He would always ask us if we were “Getty up Wrestlers”. He would tell us that when it seems tough and we feel like we can’t move another inch, all of our energy is zapped from our body and we are down, that we needed to dig deep within ourselves and Get Up!

- He was a great encourager and a fantastic coach that brought the best out of each of us.

4.Our friends either help us become and stay sharp or they facilitate our becoming and remaining dull. It’s like there is an invisible membrane between friends, and what passes between close friends are values, convictions, morals, habits, and goals.

(Proverbs 27: 17) As Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

5.I’ve seen too many people try to go it alone. You get dull real quick. Who are you spending time with? (pause) "Who’s keeping you sharp?"

6.I believe the golden rule really applies within friendships. They work both ways don’t they? In order to have a successful friendship each person needs to care for the other.

-Friendships are not one sided.

Matthew 7:12 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,…

II. The Straight-Talking Friend.

A.We all probably need someone who’s honest, who gets to the heart of the problem, and doesn’t sugarcoat things. However, such a friend must be or should be someone who speaks the truth in love. Otherwise, their frankness can be brutal.

1.For the Christian, our motivation in life should always be love: love for the Lord

and love for others.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

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