Embracing God’s Gift of Friendship From Others

5 Mins read

Do you remember your first day of school? Probably not. Most of us don’t have vivid memories of our first day of kindergarten. However, your parents could probably help you recall the fact that one of your biggest fears was not being able to make friends. If you took a more optimistic approach, you probably anticipated your first day of school and the exciting idea of making new friends. Whatever approach you took, the fact remains that from the time that we are young, we seek friendship.

As we go through life, friendships come and go. The people that you’re friends with in elementary school may not be the people that you’re friends with in high school. If you move on and go to college, you probably make an entirely new set of friends. If we’re fortunate, some of those friends who we make along the way become lifelong friends who we share our victories, defeats, triumphs and tears with.

The Bible discusses friendship at length. All throughout Scripture, the Bible discusses the topic of friendship. There are examples of friendship, Bible verses that teach about friendship, and tips for making and keeping friends. God is clearly passionate about friendship.

Let’s take a deeper dive into Scripture to understand more about this important part of life.

Friends Are Loyal
Proverbs 17:17 (ESV)

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

Good friends are the one who stand by your side even when life isn’t going the way that you want it to. Let’s be honest; anyone can stand in your corner when you’re winning. When your career is advancing, when your marriage is thriving, and everything is falling into place, friends are abundant. However, what happens when your job gets outsourced, and you find yourself scrambling for a way to pay the bills? What happens when your spouse decides that he or she is moving on and you’re blindsided by a divorce? In many cases, those friends who want to celebrate with you on the mountain top simply vanish when you find yourself in the valley.

According to the Book of Proverbs, a real friend loves you at all times. He or she doesn’t shift their loyalty based on the circumstances of your life. Instead, they stand in your corner as one of your staunchest supporters regardless of where you find yourself.

Do you have any friends that feel more like family? This verse also discusses that concept. The Bible says, “A brother is born for adversity.” Isn’t that a powerful statement? Real friends, those who are more like brothers or sisters are made to be with you in the times where life isn’t going the way that you want it to.

In the same vein, one of your God-ordained purposes in life is to be there for your friends when adversity arises in their lives. Your loyalty matters. God puts friends in our lives not only to celebrate victories, but also to commiserate in times of defeat.

Friends Make One Another Better
Proverbs 27:17 (ESV)

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

In Biblical times, tools were repaired or maintained through archaic means (at least by modern standards). When someone was sharpening an iron tool, they would use a block of iron or another iron tool and strike the two against each other. The result? A sharpened, repaired tool that could do the work that it was created to do. Solomon compared the sharpening of iron against iron to the way that our friendships are supposed to be mutually beneficial.

When you’re friends with someone, it doesn’t mean that you always agree with them or that they constantly validate your thoughts and behaviors. Instead, the same friction that sharpened a piece of iron in Biblical times also sharpens and improves us.

In the name of self-protection, we often shy away from friction in friendships. We either say that we agree with everything our friend is doing, or even worse, we sever friendships at the first sign of friction. That’s not only an unhealthy approach to friendship. It’s also an ungodly approach.

Friendship is intended to be a mutually beneficial relationship. When one of you makes a bad decision, a good friend lovingly offers correction. In the same way that iron sharpens iron through friction, friendships can provide the same sort of sharpening.

Good Friends Are Valuable
1 Corinthians 15:33-34 (ESV)

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God, I say this to your shame.

Paul minced no words when he told the Corinthian Church that bad company ruins good morals. Most humans have an innate need to “fit in.” Again, we don’t have to look beyond our own youth to see that many of us tried to make changes to our own behaviors to fit in with what we considered a “cool” crowd. It could’ve been the way we talked, dressed or acted. The fact remains, that we wanted to be connected with people and would change ourselves to achieve that goal.

However, according to this verse, we need to be choosy about the people that we count as friends in our lives. Instead, we should look for people who encourage us to pursue Godly living. Failure to do so can ruin good morals!

Take a careful inventory of the people that you currently count as friends. Do they encourage you to live a better life? Or do they drag you into sinful behaviors? You don’t have to be rude to them, but making the decision to distance yourself from negative influences is a Biblical principal.

Friends Are Forgiving
Ephesians 4:23 (ESV)

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Your friends aren’t perfect. They’re fallible people who carry their own baggage, issues, and bad habits. It’s easy to walk away from them when those issues rise to the surface. However, you’re not a perfect friend either. Try as you may, you’re also a fallible person who has your own baggage, bad habits and issues.

Friendships are often given up easily in the name of convenience. When a friend does something you don’t like, just make a new friend! When a friend disagrees with you, who needs them anyway? That’s not the Biblical approach to friendship. Instead, we are called to be kind and tenderhearted toward our friends. Additionally, Paul mandates that we forgive them with the same forgiveness that God forgave us.

Friendship is an incredibly valuable treasure. It’s been said that if you have five close friends in your life, you’re one of the most fortunate people in the world. If you don’t find yourself in a position where you have friends, examine yourself. Proverbs 18:24 says that to have friends, one must show himself friendly.

If you want friends, you must be a friend. However, it’s important that you allow God to put the right friends in your life. Once they’re there, take special care of those relationships. Nurture them, cherish them, and turn them into something beautiful. A good friend is worth his or her weight in gold. They can celebrate with you, cry with you, correct you, and encourage you.

A Closing Prayer:
God, thank You for the friendships in my life. I know that You have surrounded me with people in order to encourage me to live a life that is pleasing in Your eyes. Help me to find friends. Remind me of the importance of being a good friend. I know that every good gift comes from You and that friendship is a gift. Most of all, I thank You for the opportunity to be Your friend. I love You, and I love the people that You have placed around me. In Christ’s name, Amen.

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