Summary: A text describing the functions of friendship.
How to Maintain Friendships
Dr. Delbert Evans
Proverbs 18:24 (KJV)
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
A life without friends is a life less than God intended for us. Since we are created in His image, we must make and maintain friendships. God created man in His own image, therefore, there is something about the image of God in man that needs friendships for emotional, psychological and spiritual wholeness. Mankind exists because God desired fellowship and that desire abides in us too!
Friendship is a valuable need in life, therefore, this discourse intends to impart truth to maintain friendship.
1. Friends are precious.
Many people will let ideas and the pursuit of material wealth destroy their fellowship with friends. Others are never able to allow themselves to grow enough to trust their friends. Somehow that will damage the possibility of growth between them. Friends are more valuable than any material gain.
2. Friends share good things with each other.
There are two good stories in the Bible showing how we should think of our friends. The first story occurs in Genesis, chapter 40. Joseph befriended the butler and the baker and interpreted their dreams. The butler was restored to his position with Pharaoh. Still, he forgot Joseph. The second scripture is found in Daniel, chapter 2, verse 49. Daniel was promoted to authority, but he remembered his three friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. We should always endeavor to build up our friends as Daniel did his friends.
3. True friends are warm and stable.
Friends should always be warm and friendly with each other. A good scripture which will help us understand the truth of this fact is in Proverbs 18:24, "A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother." Notice that this Scripture reveals that friendships are meant to be warm and stable. It should never be an up and down or an on and off kind of thing. In other words, we should express friendship warmly, genuinely and consistently.
4. True friends will resolve their conflicts by forgiving and getting forgiveness.
The following scriptures show how to resolve conflicts between friends. Matthew 5:23-24, "Therefore if thou bring thy gift before the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee: leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." In fact, we cannot be able to receive forgiveness from God until we forgive our friends’ offenses toward us. The next scripture is Matthew 6:14, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
5. Friends admit wrongs, apologize for being wrong, and forgive wrongs.
There are three truths included in true friendship relationships. A good friend not only forgives but admits wrong when wrong and apologizes for wrongs when aware of them. When we violate any of the above consistently, another scripture must be considered. It is Matthew 18:15, " Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church: but if he shall neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."