Friends, we all have them. I love making new ones and spending time with the ones I have had for a while. This season God has really been speaking to me about my friendships. After a few months of praying for a new church to call home, I finally decided to take a leap and joined an amazing church here in the heart of Houston. I was a little scared about making this move, because none of my friends were coming with me. I was alone and no one knew me which meant I had to start all over again and introduce myself to everyone. Starting these new relationships made me think about the people I have gotten really close to over the years. It was funny to think that the people who I share my secrets with now were once “new” friends to me.
I’d like to consider myself as a friendly person, although I’ll admit, I can be pretty shy at first. If you have been my friend for a long time now and you’re reading this, you know that with time, the shyness rubs off of me. I want you to think about the people you consider to be your closest friends. What is it that brings you together? In what areas do you help them? In what areas do they help you? We can find so many scriptures in the Bible that talk about friendships, I hope that by the end of this post, you will be able to understand a couple of things.
You need your friends, not just any friends but the right ones. When you’re going through a very hard time, the worst thing you could possibly do is isolate yourself. Don’t do life alone, surround yourself with people who will encourage you and speak life into you. I once heard a pastor say, “You need friends who will remind you of your purpose when you’re to discouraged to see it yourself.” Are you surrounding yourself around people who will push you in the right direction? Maybe it’s time to isolate from the friends who aren’t necessarily helping you. You know, the friend that is always talking negative, or the friend that always convinces you to get into trouble.
“Walk with the wise, and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” Proverbs 13:20 (NLT)
I love the book of Proverbs, King Solomon has so much to say when it comes to friendships. Your friends have a big influence in your life, that’s why you always ask them if you should wear that outfit or if getting that new car is a good idea. I’m a very picky person when it comes to who I decide to spend my time with. Believe it or not, peoples habits can rub off on you. I have picked up a few sayings my friends always say, I don’t pick them up intentionally, but because I’m around my friends and hear them often, they sometimes just come out. Maybe there are some things you picked up from your friends. You might have picked up some bad habits that at first you probably didn’t agree about but because you wanted their friendship you didn’t go against it, instead you participated and now you might feel like you don’t even know who you are anymore. If that is you, it’s okay! I think we’ve all done stupid things in order to feel accepted, just know that you don’t need acceptance from friends who go against who you are as a person. I think by now you get the idea of what I mean when I say, “the right friends”. When life gets hard, you can surround yourself with all of your friends, but if they aren’t the right ones then you are just waisting your time.
There is a good reason why I’m focusing so much on having the “right friends”, Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens another.” (NLT) Have you ever heard that saying that says “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are”? I don’t completely agree with that saying but I think it can be true for some of us. When you’re around the right friends, you change for the better because they are bringing out the best in you. Just like your friends influence you, you have the power to influence them. That is why, your friends need you.
I love when people make time to go get coffee or dinner with me. It means a lot, especially if I know their schedule is busy. We love having friends who listen to us vent, even if its about something dumb. Just like we like when our friends are there for us, we also need to strive to be there for them. There are two important things every relationship needs to have, trust and honesty. We need to be reliable and good listeners. A few years ago I was sharing with a friend something that I was struggling with, I was expecting to get an encouraging word but instead my friend started being honest about my situation. At first, I didn’t know how to react…part of me wanted to cry because of how honest my friend was being, the other part of me wanted to end our friendship. The truth hurts, and I’m glad I didn’t let my pride get in the way of what my friend was telling me, because he was looking out for me. The right friends will be honest with you, the wrong ones will agree with everything you say in order to keep your friendship.
“An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” Proverbs 27:5,6 (NLT)
I can’t tell you how important this verse is to me. Wouldn’t you want your friends to warn you when you’re getting into trouble? A good friend will be honest with you when you’re getting out of line. When your friends are being honest with you, don’t allow your pride of wanting to be right get in the way. We should be good at giving advice, and receiving it as well (Proverbs 19:20).
I love these verses in Colossians 3:12-14, “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony” (NLT). I think we should revolve our life’s around these verses. We should work towards healthy relationships, practice honesty and trust, and most importantly pursue living in harmony with our friends.
Maybe it is time to distance yourself from some friends. If while reading this you realized you need to invest more in your friendships, I encourage you to do so! Take some time this week and think about your friendships. Most importantly, pray about them. When you give your relationships to God, he will weed out who doesn’t belong and he will make sure to put the right people in your life.