Everyone wants to have at least one friend that truly understands and loves them, don't they? But, for the most part, friends don't last forever. You may always like each other, but eventually you will get to a point when you actually have to 'catch up' with each other. That is why, in addition to having friends, you should invest in the friendships that you have in your family. And why you should marry someone who is a friend and knows how to be a friend. (And of course, you will want to be a friend to who ever you marry, hence the reason for this post.)
Simply interacting with people does not make you a friend. I have many acquaintances, but only a few friends.
Proverbs 18:24 says this, "A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."Obviously, Jesus is the ultimate example of a Friend. Let's look at some scripture verses about friends and relationships.
If we can put even one of these verses into practice we will be able to be a Godly friend.
1. Of course, one of my favorite verses is Matthew 22:36-40 “ 'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?' ” Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Have you ever noticed how we can be so polite and kind to strangers, but so rude and nasty to our family and loved ones? If we just put this one thing, "love your neighbor as yourself", into practice we will be able to be a good friend.
Something that I would like to point out is that the first commandment Jesus mentions is "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind". If our life is not centered on pleasing God, and if our friendships are not based on Jesus Christ, than we are going to fail in our attempts to be a friend.
2. John 15:12-14 says, "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you."
Jesus has commanded us to love one another as He loved us. While I may be willing to die for my friends, am I willing to lay down my selfish desires? Am I willing to give up my way? Will I stop in the middle of a project to change a diaper or feed my family?
3. In Psalm 15, David asks the question "LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?" Do you know what one of the answers was? "He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend."
Backbiting, or gossiping, is a sin. Did you know that? "Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend." In other words, don't take offense. We need to remember to be "swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:19a-20). Because friends, family members, and strangers, are all going to hurt us sometimes. If we take a moment and calm ourselves before we say anything, it will make a huge difference in our relationships.
4. Philippians 2:14-15 says this, "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world".
If we can stop ourselves from saying all of the bad things that we can think of, or even stop that little sigh when Mom asks us to wash some dishes, it will help us to be "blameless and harmless, children of God".
5. 1 Thessalonians 5:11a tells us, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up". No one wants to be friends with someone who is always being discouraging or complaining, but simply not complaining isn't enough. We need to ENCOURAGE one another!
6. Pray for your friends. If you see something in their life that is not honoring to God, pray about it. When you get married someday, your husband will not want you to be coming to him all the time with a righteous look on your face saying "Darling, I really don't think that it is honoring to God that you watch sports on Sunday night". No. Change yourself first. And pray that God would show your husband (or father, it's good practice for the day you do have a husband) if it truly is sinful to watch TV on the Lord's Day, because you might be mistaken.
Of course, if he was doing something that was really sinful, like murdering people, you would have to call the police and turn him in.
7. Do not expect your friends to fulfill your needs. Even when you are in a marriage relationship you will sometimes feel lonely. It is important that you not become dependent on a person for your spiritual and emotional needs. If you do, you will become disappointed and bitter.
8. Reading your Bible every day will help you to keep your whole life and all of your relationships pleasing to God (You don't have to get up at 5:00 AM to read your Bible, and it doesn't have to be for an hour, do what you can and you will find that even a little bit can bless you and the people around you).
Now, none of the things that I have mentioned can be done in your own strength. You need to pray that God would work them in you, and maybe ask your parents or prayer partner to pray for you as well. But that doesn't mean that you should not work at it, pray for God's help and then try but don't get discouraged when you fail, just try again.
I would suggest going over the verses I have mentioned and reading them in context, or looking up verses that apply to relationships yourself. (I love to read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation... there is such a wealth of wisdom in every book about relationships.)And when you have read what the Bible says about relationships, I challenge you to do make a list of the qualities that a godly friend would have. Then set out to become that friend. (This can help you to put the principles into practice.)
Miss Amanda writes a column for Growing in Grace Magazine about Friends... make sure to check it out.