How to be a seriously great friend
The Bible has lots of practical advice on being a godly Christian friend.
The way we use technology shows that friendship matters to us. Social networking is about keeping in touch with friends and making new friends. Facebook, Twitter, SMS - it's all about friendship, even if sometimes the online friendships are superficial.
For many people, there is greater stability in our friendships than there is in our families. So if friends are that important in our lives, how can make sure we're doing our best to be a good friend to others?
1. Look at how good friends act in the Bible
David and Jonathan: "After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father’s house. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. 1 Samuel 18:1-4
Jonathan was a very good friend to have! If you want to read a bit more about their friendship have a look at 1 Samuel 20.
Paul and Timothy: I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. Philippians 2:19-22
Another very cool, gospel-centred friendship. Read more here.
2. Listen to the Bible's wisdom on how to be a good friend
The book of Proverbs is full of great ideas on being a good friend:
- A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. (Prov 11:13 - 13)
- He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. (Prov 17:9 - 9)
- A friend loves at all times (Prov 17:17a - 17)
- Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.(Prov 22:24-25)
- Seldom set foot in your neighbour’s house—too much of you, and he will hate you. (Prov 25:17 - 17)
- Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble. (Prov 25:19 - 19)
- Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel. (Prov 27:9 - 9)
Our friendships are to be characterised by love, sharing, concern, not gossiping, being reliable and being trustworthy.
Does that describe how you treat your friends?