Before we begin I just want to say that I feel so happy today. It was a very gloomy day outside, but it was so beautiful. Days like this make me want to stay in and relax. It has been like this lately, and I must say that it is truly inspiring my writing. I feel like one of those New Yorkers in movies who sit by the window and write their little hearts out. (Sigh) That would definitely be a dream.
Well anyway before I get sidetracked and start talking about my dreams (too late), let's talk friendships. What is a friend? Dictionary.com defines a friend as, "a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard // a person who gives assistance // patron // supporter". This basically does sum up what a friend is. It is true, a friend is someone whom we feel we have a lot in common with. That is why if you place many people in one place, people will slowly gravitate towards those whom they feel they have most in common with.
This doesn't mean that we can't be friends with people that are different from us. In the contrary we can learn a lot with those kinds of friendships.
Let us take a look at three different kinds of friendships in the Bible.
David and Jonathan: (1 Samuel 18) Have you ever met someone and instantly felt a connection with them? Whether it be that you laugh at the same things, or you love the same things. That is the instant bond that David and Jonathan felt for each other. The Bible tells us how they immediately felt a bond and loved each other. They made a pact and Jonathan remained faithful to his friend. He was wiling to protect David. Even after Jonathan had died, David felt sad, but remained loyal to him.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: (Daniel 3) Do you have friends who help you in your relationship with God? These three friends stood together and refused to bow down to the false gods that Nebuchadnezzar had placed in front of them. They were thrown into a furnace and baffled Nebuchadnezzar when they were unharmed.
Ruth and Naomi: (Ruth 1) Ruth and Naomi were very different in age, language, and culture. Besides their differences they were still close friends. Ruth was Naomi's daughter-in-law but they still chose to be friends. Ruth would go and work for Naomi, and she would make sure that her friend and mother-in-law was provided for. She understood that Naomi was alone, and chose to be with her up until she reached her last days.
These three friendships represent three different characteristics that are extremely important for us to look for in our friendships; loyalty, faith strengthening, and love. Ask yourselves, are you and your friends loyal to each other? Do you help each other get closer to God? Would you be willing to do anything for each other? If yes, then that friendship is a good friendship for you to keep.
Signs That a Friendship is No Longer Helping You:
Lets talk about a few signs that may be showing us that a friendship is no longer helping us.
1. You feel like you can't trust them:
"A troublemaker plants seeds of strife: gossip separates the best of friends." Proverbs 16:28
If you feel like you can not tell your friends anything because you fear that they will tell others, then you are most likely not benefiting from that friendship. If in the past this friend has told someone some of your secrets in a way to spread them, then it is most likely no longer something you should stay in. Now if a friend tells someone of higher authority something that you confided in them with because they want to help you then that is a different story. There is a difference between gossiping and reaching out to someone for help.
2. They are only around when they need you:
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."- Proverbs 17:17
It doesn't feel great when we are being used does it? There are friends who stay with us when things are good and when things are bad. Then there are "friends" who are only around when they need something. These kinds of friends are the ones whom are only around when they need advice, money, homework help, or even when they feel lonely, but when you are needing the help and support from them they are nowhere to be found. Yikes! This sounds very depressing.
3. They are pushing you farther away from God:
"Stay away from fools; for you won't find knowledge on their lips." - Proverbs 14:7
This one can be very touchy for some people. If you start seeing yourself getting farther away from God because of a friendship, then maybe it is time to reflect on what is truly most important. You will have to speak with your friend/ friends and let them know that you will not be participating in certain things because you want to dedicate that time to Jesus. True friends who love and understand you should respect this choice. You will come to see who your true friends are in this one.
Many make the mistake to say that we should not be friends with those who are not following Christ. This has some truth to it. I believe that we should show kindness and love to everyone. Friendships with those who do not love Christ can only go far to a certain extent. There was must be mutual respect to each others beliefs. If the respect is kept then the friendship can last. But if you choose to avoid nonbelievers then how does that help us with our duties as followers of Christ? How else will others be able to see the love of Christ if no one dares to approach them with that love, and how can we claim to have Christ in us if we refuse to give and love others?
What Are Your Friendship Saying About You?
We have heard it all before right? Many can tell a lot about us by those whom we choose to spend most of our time with. Does this sound unfair? Not really I mean ask yourselves, "do my friends reflect who I am?" "do we believe the same things?" "do we love the same things?" "do we laugh and smile at the same things?" "do we agree on a lot of things?" There is a very interesting quote I read somewhere that goes a little something like this..
"If you hang with the wolves, you'll learn how to howl" Basically, you start acquiring a lot of the same habits as those whom you choose to spend most of your time with.
We have heard, the birds of a feather flock together. The people you choose to spend most of your time with say a lot about your values and what you choose to stand up for. That's why it is important to choose your friends wisely.
"Do not be fooled by those who say such things, for 'bad company corrupts good character.'" -1 Corinthians
Be careful that your friendships are helping you and uplifting you. Last Sunday our pastor spoke about how it is important to have an accountability partner. How beautiful it would be if you and your friends could be each others accountability partners in your faith. so, what are your friends saying about you?
Don't worry, I am almost done, but before I go let me give you a few tips on being a good friend.
How Can We Be Great Friends to Others:
Quit Judging: It is important to love each other and look at each other without any judgement. This doesn't mean that we have to agree or support every single decision our friends make. We are human, meaning that we do fail. We need to be willing to give constructive criticism, but we must understand that when a friend tells us something, they are trusting us with a little part of their lives. This means that we must be willing to listen without passing any judgement towards them.
Compromise: Friends can have different tastes in music, movies, or even in hobbies. My friends and I do not have the same exact interests, but we are very similar in our attitude. We have to be willing to compromise. There are times where I sit down and watch a movie my friends want to watch because I know thats something they love. Friends need to be willing to compromise in these areas because lets face it, it's not fair if we do things that only one person wants to do all the time.
Be Supportive: Support each other at all times. In your hobbies, in accomplishments, in difficult times, or in celebration, always support one another. My friends are my biggest supporters aside from God. They help me and encourage me by reading the things I write. They know what I love to do, and they support me in it. I know what they love, and I am there for them as well. It is important to support one another.
Be Honest: Be open with your feelings and thoughts. You don't always have to be together. I don't see my friends daily, but we still have a strong bond with one another. When we do get together it is as if we were never apart. We always share everything with each other. Things that hurt us, things we love, and even things that we may feel embarrassed to share with anyone else. It is important to have that honest and open communication with one another.
Above all never forget that God is also always your friend. He is the One true faithful friend that will never leave your side. Always remember the sacrifice He did for you, and how He loves to listen to you. God holds all of the good characteristics I mentioned in this post, and He holds so many others that help us in a way that is totally unexplainable.
Don't neglect God, and remember what an honor it is to be called "a friend of God".
Well, that is a wrap my friends. I hope you all enjoyed our little chat. Let me know what a true friendship means to you? Have you encountered any bad friendships, and if so, how did you deal with them? I always feel so happy hearing from you all. I love you all, may the Lord bless you.