Saturday, February 16, 2013

Five Biblical Qualities of Good Friends

John 15:13 says: Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. These days it's extremely difficult to find true friends who will support us in times of trouble. Many of us have drinking buddies, fair weather friends, and people simply hoping for sexual contact in the future. Proverbs 18:24 says: A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. These are five Bible verses that explain clearly what qualities are important in friendship, with interpretations.

1. Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

This passage from Proverbs is simple enough in the beginning, it tells us that true friends love us. Love is what binds everything together. It should be fairly easy to tell if a friend does not truly love and care for us. The second part of the passage says "a brother is born for adversity." This I take as meaning that not only is a friend willing and ready to help us when we're in trouble, but actually enjoys helping us at these times. True friends are loving.

2. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

What's another good trait for true friends? Are they positive in their support for you? This passage in Thessalonians is instructing children of God to encourage one another. Many of us have friends who subliminally tear us down, often under the guise of it being only a joke. If it persists and bothers you, remember that a true friend will encourage you to do your best. Often people will put us down in hopes of encouraging us to stay where we are, where they can control us. Many of our friends are quietly jealous, and hope for our ruin! Pray to God and ask that he reveal the true intentions of your friends. Then observe keenly. True friends are very supportive.

3. Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

I'm going to focus on the first part of this passage in Proverbs. It says "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." This means that if a friend wounds you, it should be for a good reason. An important duty of any friend, once proper trust has been established, is to point out mistakes or flaws in our character. When done so in a careful manner, this will allow us to see the fullness of our faults and properly correct them. I had a friend a few years ago whom we had a standing agreement, that if one of us saw something in the other that they were missing, we'd tell them so they could correct the error. It worked out very well! A true friend helps us build character.

4. Proverbs 27:9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.

This passage from Proverbs tells us that the sweetness, or joy of friendship comes from earnest counsel. When we are troubled by a decision ahead of us what feels better than calling up a friend, having some coffee and telling them about the problem? It helps us feel understood, it helps us see the issue from new angles. Proverbs tells us that this is a wonderful gift that springs from true friendship. A true friend gives earnest advice.

5. Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

In Hebrews chapter ten we're told to think about how we can stir the spirit of our friends to do good things. It also instructs us to meet regularly with friends, encourage one another, and to do so even more when in times of trouble. We often try to assist friends when they're down. How great would it be if we could stir up hope and the desire to do good in them? Sit down and think or write about ways to connect the love of God to friends hearts. A true friend gives us hope.