“Will you be my friend?” I asked as I went from house to house in my Northern California suburban neighborhood. I wasn’t a shy 4th grader back then as I made my way around in the sweltering heat. And I’m not shy now either, although I do not solicit friends in the same way! Today I might say,
“Do you want to get coffee?”
“Is there anyone who wants to walk or bike with me on Friday?”
But the message is the same: I like having friends and hanging out with them. And that desire has resulted in lots of friends…from all walks of life.
Studies done on friendships, however, conclude that you have a “core” of real, close friends…those you spend time with and share your dreams. These friends, your core, can be counted on one hand.
The Bible also indicates that God didn’t intend for us to travel through this life alone. Take a look:
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother was born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17
The Bible gives us examples of friendships. One example was David and Jonathon.
As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 1 Samuel 18:1-3
Another example is Ruth and Naomi.
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die.
And before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the Scriptures tell us that Jesus wept. The onlookers noted, See how much He loved him. John 11:36
Establishing healthy friendship guidelines and boundaries will bless your life.
Core friends share these:
1. Love of God. Your closest friends should love God and share your godly morals and values. This is so important because when you need prayer, encouragement, or advice, you can know that your friend is also seeking God’s will for you. Also important, is a friend who will hold you accountable to those Christian values and truths. She won’t just “agree” with you out of fear she will hurt your feelings. She will say, “Let’s pray about this” and “Let’s look to God’s Word to see what He would have you do.”
2. Mutual Respect. Even if you have a difference of opinion, not related to your Spiritual beliefs, you should respect each other. You and your friend are uniquely made! My closest friends all share similar beliefs, morals, and values, but every one of us are different in style! We differ in sports, fashion, and even how we spend our time.
3. Genuine Love. You can only love another if you first feel worthy of love yourself. You were worth Jesus going to the cross so He could have a relationship with you. He loves you! And His love enables you to love others. When you love your friend, there’s a freedom that comes with being real and transparent without fear of judgment. To show love to your friend you can:
- Provide help when she needs it.
- Pray with and for her.
- Be her best cheerleader!
- Speak well of her.
- Give material gifts…homemade or store-bought.
- Listen to her.
- laugh with her.
4. Humility and Forgiveness. It’s not a competition. Be willing to take second place and let your friend shine. Friendships have ended because of pride and jealousy. We may have a sweet, perfect friendship, but keep in mind we are not perfect people. When you make a mistake say you’re sorry. And when your friend makes one against you, be quick to forgive. Expect the best of her intentions and listen closely.
5. Loyalty and Commitment. On the road to lasting friendship there needs to be a balance. One person can’t always be giving and one person always receiving–strong friendships require a time investment from both. However, there may be seasons where one is less able to “give” because of her circumstances. Our selfless devotion may mean we put our needs on hold to meet the needs of another.
I have been blessed to have had many wonderful, godly woman in my life during my 50 something years. Some have come for a season and some are here for life.
Either way, I want to say thank you for making my life sweeter.