Summary: A good friend is a good find. Developing positive friendships are the crowning jewels in our life. Someone once said, “A friend is a present you give yourself”. How should we choose our friends and how can we tell if we have a good one?
INTRODUCTION: There are different levels of friendship. We have people in our life who are acquaintances, people we like but only see once in a while, usually at a function. Then we have closer friends who we get together with on occasion. We might not see them too often but our level of conversation goes beyond small talk. These are people we have shared interests or experiences with; people with whom we’re compatible. C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You, too? I thought I was the only one’.” Then we have close friends with whom we talk with regularly. We have a more intimate relationship with these people. We may have shared some secrets or personal stuff with them. Usually one doesn’t have too many people they can call close friends. Then we have a best friend. This is the one who knows us best. This is the person we feel comfortable telling anything to. This is the one person whom we feel is our closest companion. Today I’m going to talk about friendship.
1) How should we choose our friends?
• Carefully. Prov. 12:26a, “a righteous man is cautious in friendship.” There’s only one letter separating ‘friend’ from ‘fiend’. Sometimes it seems like there’s a fine line in differentiating between the two. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to turn a friend into a fiend. That can be because of who we decide to call friends. Prov. 22:24-25. Being a friend of someone who has an anger problem puts us at risk. We will have problems. There will be conflict with each other and we will be dragged into conflict through our association with the angry person. If we’re not careful, choosing the wrong friends will cause us much damage. 1st Cor. 15:33, “Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.” We also have to look out for ‘fair weather’ friends. Prov. 19:4, “Wealth brings many friends but a poor man’s friend deserts him.” We have to try to determine if anyone has an ulterior motive in wanting to be our friend. Socrates said, “Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in continue firm and constant.” A friendship is too valuable to be entered into lightly. We need show care when choosing friends.
• Without compromising Christ. Deut. 13:6-8. We shouldn’t entertain a friendship with someone who tries to get us to compromise our devotion to God. We shouldn’t compromise our devotion to God for anyone. Even if our best friend tries to do so we should distance ourselves, as hard as that would be, from that person. Some of our friends might turn on us when we devote our lives to Jesus. But we have to be willing to lose a friend in order to stay true to Jesus. Psalm 119:63, “I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.” We should be careful to make sure we are friends with those who follow God.
• By realizing that friends aren’t perfect. Our friends are human; just like us. They will make mistakes. They will get us angry, they will hurt us. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t value our friendship. Especially if they wrong us and ask for our forgiveness. Consider these imperfect men who were chosen by God: Noah got drunk, Moses was a murderer, Jacob was a deceiver, David was an adulterer, Jonah ran from God, Elijah was a whiner, Jeremiah was depressed, Thomas was a doubter and Paul was a persecutor. God knew this about them yet he chose to use them anyway. He even called the adulterer David a man after his own heart. It’s not always easy to get along with each other. Someone once said, “To dwell above with saints we love, that will be grace and glory. To live below with saints we know, well, that’s another story!” Friends don’t always agree, and that’s okay. Just because we might not always agree and just because we might have conflicting personalities doesn’t mean we can’t get along and be friends. If two friends have a disagreement or an argument that shouldn’t end the relationship. Prov. 17:9, “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separated close friends.” Although we need to be careful when choosing our friends, we need to realize that we will never find that perfect friend. We shouldn’t avoid a friendship because of imperfections. What if someone used that standard with us? Nobody’s perfect including our friends.
2) How can we identify a good friend? A good friend is a good find. Developing positive friendships are the crowning jewels in our life. Someone once said, “A friend is a present you give yourself”. How can we tell if we have a good friend?