Sunday, January 26, 2014

Wanted: Friends

It is hard to find good friends.  I think it is hard because we start looking in all the wrong places.  When we look for friends, we often look for:
  • People with common interests
  • People with common backgrounds
  • People with similar personalities
  • People who are around (you know, we set the standard pretty high!)

Now, none of these are bad, but they miss out on the most important thing in finding good friends:  character.  If you want a friendship to last and be drama free, the first place you need to look is at a person's character.  Character supersedes commonalities because it lets us know the heart of a person.  If a person has the right character, we can find a common interest to do together.  However, no amount of similarities will change a person with poor character.

The book of Proverbs gives us a great place to start when looking for friends.  Let me share three verses from Proverbs with you that tell us what to look for in friends:

1. "A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends."  Proverbs 16:28

A good friend is someone who is trustworthy.  Gossip kills relationships.  Gossip often masks itself in concern for someone, but make no mistake:  talking about someone behind their back is ALWAYS gossip.  When looking for friends, pay attention to what they say about others.  If they are regularly talking to you about private situations of someone else, they probably are not good friend material.

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

A good friend displays love regardless of circumstances.  Good friends don't ridicule or mock each other.  They value each other.  Good friends don't treat you differently depending on who is around.  A friends love doesn't mean that they are always nice or always agree with you.  Love must sometime say and do difficult things (more on that in a minute). When looking for friends, ask yourself:  Does this person value me?

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

A good friend provides honest critique when something is not right in your life.  A good friend is willing to tell you that you are making a dumb decision, doing something harmful, etc.  They can say something that wounds, but they do so for your improvement and correction.  A bad friend?  They just keep on telling you that you are perfect just the way you are (in other words they LIE to you).  You aren't perfect, neither am I, and any friend who isn't willing to call you out about your poor behavior isn't a friend worth having.

It's a pretty cool list!  So as you are looking for friends, look at people's character.  Trying to decide on a best friend?  Trust what the Bible says, look at their heart, and save yourself a lot of trouble later on!

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