Tuesday, October 6, 2009

God's word on Healthy Friendships


People can be so much more effective, so much more balanced and so much wiser as a result of developing and maintaining healthy friendships. The Word of God supports this approach. The book of Proverbs is filled with wise sayings on aspects of friendship. Proverbs focuses on the importance of developing friendships based on the right reasons.


For example, Proverbs 19:4-6 tells us: "Wealth makes many friends, but the poor is separated from his friend . . . Many entreat the favor of the nobility, and every man is a friend to one who gives gifts."


Solomon noted that many people make friends for ulterior motives, such as what a friend can do for us. But a true friend is one who will sacrifice for his brother, not one who will sacrifice his brother for gain. A true friend will not be friendly only when things are going well but will love at all times, including periods of adversity (Proverbs 17:17).


A true friend is deeply committed to a relationship. Notice Jesus Christ describing this commitment: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13). Jesus not only said this, He lived it. It's quite a challenge for us to follow this wonderful example.


Some believe that to be a friend to someone, one should never stand up to or disagree with him. But there are times when a true friend needs to tell his brother where he is wrong. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend. But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful" (Proverbs 27:6).


Friends should assist and strengthen each other by helping each other grow and improve (Proverbs 27:17). People simply do much better by working together. Two really are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).


God's way is not one of total independence from others. It is a way of interdependence—of close relationships and of working together as a well-trained team to accomplish the goals He sets before us. All of us need to actively seek, develop and maintain friendships from a godly perspective and motive. We will be better people as a result.
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