Relationships 2. A Young Person and Their Friends

Friendship                       

Whoever you are, friends are important. Whether you're popular and rely on them for everything, or you have none and want them. Friendship is a huge part of life, and like any significant factor,needs Biblical thought.

Why do we choose certain people and not others to be our friends? What is it that makes us click with people? You can choose your friends; but how do you? What makes a good friend? What qualities do you look for? When does someone become a friend and not just an acquaintance?

J.C.Ryle gave this advice; “Good friends are among our greatest blessings;- they may keep us back from much evil, quicken us in our course, speak a word in season, draw us upward, and draw us on. But a bad friend is a positive misfortune, a weight continually dragging us down, and chaining us to earth. Keep company with an irreligious man and it is more than probable you will in the end become like him. That is the general consequence of all such friendships. The good go down to the bad and the bad do not come up to the good.”

I advise you to find godly friends. 2 Corinthians 6:14 warns us not to be “unequally yoked with unbelievers”. Of course there is a time and place for friendships with unbelievers, in order to witness to them. But for people who will encourage you spiritually, find wise friends (Proverbs 13:20), because “bad company ruins good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Kevin DeYoung wrote on his blog “Your strongest relationships should be with those who lead you to Christ, not with those who draw you away.”

Once you have good friends I would give you these tips:
  • Listen to your friends. I don't mean just hear their advice, but listen to their heartbreaks and fears. Good listeners are always popular, and you will never be short of friends if you can be trusted and confided in.
  • Pray for your friends. Bring your friends to God and let them know you're praying for them.
  • Be friendly and not exclusive. It is so easy to get caught up with your friends and delight in your fellowship with them, but do watch out for the friendless, too. Proverbs 18:24.
  • Be forgiving. “Whoever covers an offence seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9. Forgive, be gracious and truly forget the hurts your friend give you. And they will; they're human just like you!  
  • Be accountable. Challenge your friends, and don't be afraid to check each other. Proverbs 27:6 and 9 say “Faithful are the wounds of a friend... and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” We're told in Hebrews 3:13 to “exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today”, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” This goes both ways- accept challenges and criticism too!
  • Be loyal. One of the most well-known friendships is that of David and Jonathan. Think of all that Jonathan risked by being loyal to David. “A friend loves at all times...” Proverbs 17:17. Be a friend who can be trusted.
  • Don’t like your friends for what they have, but who they are. Proverbs has a lot to say about the rich being popular, and the poor lonely (e.g. 19:4 and 14:20).
  • Have an input mentality with your friends. Think about what you can give to the relationship, nor just what you can get out of it. Paul Tripp wrote on his blog, “If you invest in the treasure of willing service, you will experience the return of appreciation, respect, and a deeper friendship.” Investing in your friends blesses you in the long-run.


With these ideas in mind, think about your own friendships and how you can glorify God by deepening and strengthening them.

By Elspeth McLachlan     

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this, Elspeth! What godly friendship means and how I can be a good friend are things that I have been thinking about lately, so this was very interesting to read. :-)

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