SHEPHERD TO SHEEP
(Pro 17:17) A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Friendship is one of the most rewarding aspects of life. Having a good friend to experience life together is truly a gift. Sharing common interests, communicating thoughts and feelings, and being there for each other during the good and bad is all part of a significant relationship. What does the Bible say about friendship? How can we be a good friend to others?
First of all we must realize that a good friend is from the Lord. (Jms 1:17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above… You have heard it said that if you have one or more true friends you are a truly blessed person. And that blessing is from above. He knows just what you need and sends that person in your life for such a time as this (Esther 4:14). If you look back in your life you will see that a friend came into your life at just the right time. Perhaps you were kind of lonely and you prayed for a friend. The Lord provides social connections just as much as anything else we need in life.
Now that we have a friend it is important that we nurture that friendship. That takes time and good communication. It takes an investment of energies. It takes commitment. Sometimes it takes sacrifice. It also takes loyalty because a friend loves at all times…not only in the good times but in the bad. You will be there for each other in the highs and lows of life. (Rom 12:15) Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. You will support each other in all aspects of life…even when a dumb decision is made and consequences come about. You will agree to disagree agreeably and amiably. You will respect each other’s opinions. You will be a good listener and a good communicator. You will have a good sense of humor and take nothing personal. No matter what happens you will always stay together and pray together.
Good friends will also argue and fight at times. How can you not? Just think of how two fallen people are bound to bump into each other and get hurt. This is when you want to believe the best and overlook the faults of others. (1 Pet 4:8) And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” (1 Cor 13:7-8) (Love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails... At other times you will have to speak up and work it out. (Luke 17:3)…If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. Your relationship will become stronger through these times of testing.
Remember also these important truths: Do not be unequally yoked with a unbeliever (2 Cor 6:14-18). And remember that true love comes from the Lord. It is Jesus loving you through that friend. He gets all the credit because He is the author of love (1 John 4:8). And a final note is the most important: When you don’t have a friend, Jesus is that friend that sticks closer than a brother! (Pro 18:24)