Summary: In order for life to work the way God intended it to in the area of friendships, we must choose friends wisely according to God’s qualifications.
Qualities of a True Friend
There is a heavy emphasis in our society on friendships. Television, movies, radio & our peers tell us that we need to be loyal friends and that nothing should come between our friendships with others.
Just the other day I saw a commercial about a man who had just been married and at the reception he was hanging out with his closest guy friends. The commercial was done like much of the nature shows are done in which the camera crew and crazy host follow animals around and a narrator does most of the talking. Anyway here was this guy on his wedding day and all of his friends are talking about the things he will miss because he got married and they are making him feel and look bad and then the guy uses his wedding ring to open a bottle of beer and then all of a sudden his friends accept him again.
What is my point? It simply is this: Friendship is extremely important and crucial to those in our society today. Many people feel that friendship is the single most important thing in one’s life; that nothing should come between friends, especially a member of the opposite sex. Did this happen to you when you met your spouse? Did some of your friends feel that you sold out on your friendship with them for a girl or a guy? This happens quite often and goes to further prove that friendship is held in high regard in our society as something that is special and needs to be cherished.
Do you want to know something; they are right. Friendship is an important thing and it is special and it is something that needs to be cherished. Some of the greatest relationships we will have in life are those that we have with close friends and I am sure that there are those of us in here that would affirm that and could share stories of people who are close to them and who have been life long friends.
What makes someone a friend? Is it their willingness to not let anything come between you and them? Is it their ability to keep your secrets? Is it their ability to make you laugh and have fun?
As we continue our study in Proverbs on making life work, we are going to look at this key element of life known as friendship and see what God has to say about it as well as what God says what makes someone a true friend.
Throughout the book of proverbs we see an underlying message about friendship and that is this:
We need to be wise in selecting friends.
As we read through Proverbs and through the Bible we find characteristics that God says we are to look for in a friend. These characteristics make someone a real and genuine friend; one who fits the profile that God lays out for choosing friends.
First God says that we need to choose friends who will love us for who we are and who are committed to our friendship for the long haul.
Proverbs 17:17 says: “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.”
True friends are committed for life.
I cannot tell you how many times I have seen and talked to people who have been the victim of a fair-weather friend. They establish what they think is a friendship with someone and as soon as things get a little rough or someone gets their feathers ruffled they bail and their time in that “friendship” is through.
A few years ago there was a country song out in which one woman counsels another woman not to get involved with a certain guy because he is a “walk away Joe”. Just a little turmoil, trouble or discomfort and he’ll be gone. Friends, for what its worth, when it comes to friendships I don’t want to be a walk away Joe. I want to be a steadfast, committed, faithful Joe.
Many of us have fallen victim to friendships with walk away Joe’s or walk away Jane’s and have been hurt in the process. A true friend, one who God wants us to be friends with are ones who are committed to our friendship for the long haul and as the verse says, will love us no matter what happens.
This verse also says that a true friend will remain your friend no matter what happens.
I once heard the story of a person who was very popular in their town. They seemed to be friends with everyone. No matter where they went people knew them. They had this knack for making people laugh and have fun and everyone loved them.
Then one day this person suffered a horrifying injury as a result of a car accident and was paralyzed, they became a paraplegic. Needless to say they could not get around much and live the life they used to live. People came to see them and help them out in the beginning, but after a while the visits stopped and the help slowly faded away. In the end, only a few friends remained.