Friends, they are the people we enjoy spending time with. Time with them never seems wasted. They are the people we so easily talk to. They encourage us. They inspire us. They give us smiles and hope during difficult and complicated seasons of life. They are quick to offer a helping hand when we are in need. They make our special days extra special.
Having them can also give us emotional heartaches. We get broken promises. We can even feel abandoned and rejected by them when we need them. We are hurt when we do not get an occasional call or text from them and our emotional investment in a friendship sometimes makes us feel like victims of our own emotions. It is certain that nobody can live life without one. Our very hearts long for fellowship and companionship; God made us for that.
The word friend has no specific definition but always involves affection towards a person so generally a friend is somebody you love, cherish and care for. It is no doubt that we are friends with the people we share common interests with. That’s usually the basis for any known relationship that we have with people. Personally I have had many friends. With some, the friendship grew stronger with age while it was the complete opposite with others. Communication plays a major role in friendship. Often times the true test of friendship is when communication between the parties involved is low.
It is extremely important to be intentional about being a friend and maintaining a friendship. The same goes for the people we call friends but we all know that the task of being a friend is easier said than done. We think some spark should happen with somebody because they are our church mates but in reality, friendship is grown and involves intention. If we are to make friends, even at church, we have go beyond the superficial relationship of fast paced greeting and chatting (bearing in mind that you cannot be close to everyone). Friendship involves the following: sacrifice, complicated seasons, forgiveness, transparency, and heartfelt discussions. Ultimately any good friend of ours should point us back to what is good for us, God, helping us in our walk of becoming more like Christ each and every day which gives friendship a much deeper foundation than common interests.
Let’s look at what Jesus said concerning the love for friends:
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 forhis friends. (John 15:12-13)
Remember as a friend, love is your anthem. Love is what helps you make decisions and love suffers long, is kind and does not envy (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Unity Through Humility
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 3:4)
Now look at scripture for some insight on friends making:
The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray. (Proverbs 12:26)
Careful thought through decisions will help you in your friendship journey.
Types of Friends
1. The Caring Friend
Nobody wants to feel like they are only needed when their friends want something. Nobody wants to feel used. Nobody wants to feel lonely. It is the same reason we find it emotionally challenging when dealing with the feeling of abandonment. We may not say it but it is undeniably true that we all want and need a friend who cares. A friend who cares about how we feel. A friend who wants to help in the best way they know how. Care is a by product of love. We are naturally drawn to people we know care for us. If we care for somebody, we will always mind the words that we say to them. We will swallow our pride and always do what we can to avoid tension. A caring friend is one who gently corrects another friend. He/she will hold you accountable and will do what they can to give you the truth in love. Wisdom is better than not knowing.
He who speaks truth declares righteousness, But a false witness, deceit. There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health. (Proverbs 12:17-18)
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)
The caring friend does not want to see a fellow brother or sister hurt themselves because of lack of knowledge. Even if you have different opinions on a certain topic, a caring friend will not rush to ignite an argument. The reason is simple really; most arguments don’t end very well. I have seen this for myself. Arguments are all about proving why somebody is wrong and why you are right. There are better ways of sharing opinions. A friend doesn’t have to be selfish, inconsiderate or critical, but a student of humility and meekness.
2. The Encouraging Friend
It is certain that encouraging words have the ability to uplift. Something you call simple can mean something big for the next person. Remember when you were told were are good at something? What happened to your optimism? Remember when you were told not to worry about something that was bothering you? Your heart was suddenly at peace, and you felt free.
An encouraging friend pushes you to achieve the plans you have set. An encouraging friend will notice your talents and untapped potential and use the strength of words to push you to discover, learn and serve. An encouraging friend doesn’t want see a fellow friend become weary,stagnant or worse, backslide. Such a friend comforts when they very well know that a friend is in need of comfort and support. We all go through different seasons in life; some more complicated than others,and we need an encouraging friend to comfort us along the way.
-Let God be at the center of the relationship. If you intend to build, cultivate or invest in a relationship, let your principles stand on God’s Word. If you don’t, chances are you will find it difficult to squeeze that in later on. That’s like building a house with no solid foundation, and when the storm comes, the obvious happens.
-Appreciation is an important part of friendship. Any person will feel uncomfortable when a friend nags and complains. Those are basic signs of ungratefulness. Appreciate what a friend does for you. Appreciate their presence when they are around. Appreciate their talents,gifts,efforts and speak words of encouragement.
-Investing in a friendship is what keeps it from dying. Authentic friendship type of relationships involve investment. Take the initiative to call or to check up on your friend. Visit your friend if you have to, to show that you are not only serious about being a friend but also intentional. You can teach a friend something. Learn something together. Pray together. Ultimately focus on character building. Make sure your friend or friends never remain the same. Remember, Investment isn’t effective if it is one sided. When a relationship is gasping for air it means there is little or no investment.
-Correct a fellow friend when you have to. Put aside the excuses and sometimes face your fear of correcting a friend. It is healthy for you and your friend or friends.
-Vulnerability is necessary for any close friendship. It takes time to become free and comfortable around someone but the fruit of being transparent is that it allows a friend to truly know you; the real you who has flaws,fears and makes mistakes not the social media filtered you. Do not let pride dictate your level of openness. Be vulnerable, and you will find telling a friend about your struggles easier than before.
-Learn to be both patient and forgiving. Leave room for forgiveness and grace. Let go of any past hurts that happened because of a friend.
-Trust is important. Let your friends know you trust them.
-If you feel there are friends who left you curious about your friendships with them in the past, let go of the curiosity. It is wise to ask them why what happened actually happened. If you still feel betrayed by the friends of the past, let go. It is good for your heart. Forgive them and move on to asking God for healing
-It’s normal to feel like there are some friends who owe you explanations and apologies for forgetting about you, but they left anyway and hurt you emotionally. Friendships can be complicated and so it is safe to ask old friends if there’s a particular reason for leaving or being passive. Don’t just assume the worst, leave your pride behind you.
A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17)
As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. (Proverbs 27:17)
Grace and peace!