Biblical truths about Friendship…

When I was in 2nd grade we would sing this song about “friendship” during every girl scout meeting. It went a little something like this: “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold”. That song has stuck in my head for over 25 years. Life was so much simpler when we were younger though. Friendships were easy! We may have had a small disagreement every once in a while over silly things, but we were instantly back to being friends after. We did not allow others to influence who we were around. We would forgive, forget and move on anytime we were hurt. Do you remember making “pinky promises” and making sacred vows to be Best friends forever? It seems as though when get older that our taste in friends begins to change and we have a harder time forgiving, forgetting and moving on after being hurt by friends.

What does the Bible say about true friendship?

Proverbs 17:9- Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. 

The Bible is saying with this scripture that with love you water the garden of friendship when we choose to forgive our friends of their faults and stop “dwelling” on the mistakes that they made. In return, our friendship grows strong and prospers.

-Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget    –John Randolph

How true is that statement? Just like the song above, it is a true blessing to have real friends, they are like silver and gold. I mean “true friends”.

So what characteristics do friends have to have to be considered “true friends”?

  1. Loyalty-  a strong feeling of support or allegiance.
  2. Trust-firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something
  3. Realness-genuine
  4. Honesty-n a truthful, fair, or honorable way.
  5. Empathy-he ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
  6. Sincerity- the quality of being free from pretense, deceit, or hypocrisy.
  7. Encouraging attitude- to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence:

These are just a few key qualities that true friends should have.

Colossians 3:13 says-  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (NIV)

These verses give us the key pointers on how to make friendships last. The Bible gives us so many examples of what true friendship is all about. In Colossians, the scripture is describing how we should all forgive each other of our wrong doings because the Lord himself has forgiven us. Like..whoa! You mean to tell me that when a friend hurts my feelings, no matter how hard it hurt me, that I am supposed to forgive them?? Yes!!! Forgive, forget and move on! Because how many times have you messed up in your lifetime, knelt down on your knees and asked the good Lord to forgive you? If you are anything like me, it has probably been over a million times. We all mess up and we all make mistakes, unfortunately!  God loves us enough to pick us up, forgive us, forget about the sin we committed and tell us to move on. So we are supposed to also do the same for our friends.

Here are a few other examples of “true Friendships” in the Bible:

ABRAHAM AND LOT

Abraham reminds us of loyalty and going above and beyond for friends. Abraham gathered hundreds of men to rescue Lot from captivity.

Genesis 14:14-16 – “When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.” (NIV)

JOB AND HIS FRIENDS

Friends come to each other when one faces adversity. When Job faced his toughest times, his friends were immediately there with him. In these times of great distress, Job’s friends sat with him and let him do the talking. They felt his pain, but also allowed him to feel it without putting their burdens on him at that time. Sometimes just being there is what someone needs.

Job 2:11-13 – “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven.  So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.” (NKJV)

DANIEL AND SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO

While friends look out for one another like Daniel did when he requested that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be promoted to high positions, sometimes God leads us to help our friends so they can help others. The three friends went on to show King Nebuchadnezzar that God is great and the only God.

Daniel 2:49 – “At Daniel’s request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be in charge of all the affairs of the province of Babylon, while Daniel remained in the king’s court.”(NLT)

Each of these amazing biblical stories is about friendships that endured hardships and they were there for each other. That is what “true friendship” is all about. You want friends that are there for you through thick and thin! The ones that pray, laugh, cry, scream and fight along side of you. Those friends are the silver and gold friends! So count your blessings if you have even ONE good friend. The Bible says in Proverbs 18:23-24

The poor plead for mercy;
    the rich answer with insults.

24 There are “friends” who destroy each other,
    but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

The ultimate “true friend” is Jesus Christ. There is no better friend than him. He laid down his life for all of us and continues to bless us each and every day with his unconditional love. What a friend we have in Jesus 🙂

Happy Saturday Y’ALL

K.D. RUSSELL