Being a good friend may come easy to some people, and their peers may see them as the best friends one could possibly have. But let’s examine what the word of God speaks to us about being a “good friend.”
What we will find is that more is required of us than just being there when our friends need us, or cosigning everything they feel, say or do. Though there are many areas in the Bible that speak of friendship, a few scriptures recorded in chapter 27 of the Book of Proverbs speak volumes on the subject of Christian friendship.
“An open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27: 5-6). Examining these two verses, we should notice the usage of words. It says that OPEN REBUKE is better than SECRET LOVE. In other words, getting on your friend’s case publicly, or in the mist of many people, for doing something which they know is wrong or questionable…is preferred by God rather than continually telling them that it’s okay every time they do those wrongs…or just never saying anything.
Think about it. One can’t possibly call his or herself a good friend (according to God’s word) to their peers if they watch those peers do wrong things that will eventually harm them. No, it’s never easy to give advice to an adult and tell them what they should or shouldn’t do without them resenting you sometimes, which brings us to verse six.
Again, notice the use of wording and how an unwanted thing is given a good characteristic, and a wanted thing is given a negative characteristic. “FAITHFUL are the WOUNDS of a friend; but the KISSES of an enemy are DECEITFUL.” This is a great example of how God thinks concerning a topic in comparison to how we think of the same topic. God requires more of us than we do of ourselves, which helps us become more holy. It explains that no matter how harshly you rebuke your friend that is doing something foolish (because rebuke brings the deep cutting of conviction; the wound) you are showing your faithfulness and “true friendship” toward that person. That person may get highly upset with you, but in the long run he or she will certainly be appreciative.
If you’re that friend that gives the kiss, or pat on the back, every time your peer does something foolish…then you can be considered an enemy to that person’s soul. Here you are telling your friend that it’s okay every single time they do what God has commanded them not to do. Some people even urge their friends to sin or act foolishly. At that point, you and God would be at opposite ends of perspective. So, let us examine the true purpose of friendship from the biblical aspect.
“As Iron sharpens iron; so does one man sharpen another” (Proverbs 27: 17). In other words, a good friend (good person) will help his or her peers be good people. Two or more godly people in contact with one another learn from one another, and they also urge one another to continue to do well. Good habits rub off on others. Likewise, one who is constantly around those who do wrong may be dulled instead of sharpened so to speak. Ultimately, the true essence of friendship in the Christian faith is to mold and shape one another into better people in the sight of God according to His word; not to just have someone to have fun with or lean on in times of trouble. Allowing yourself to be held accountable by your peers, who you know to live according to the Bible, can assist you as a believer in your daily walk with the Lord.
So, treat your friends well, and accept their good advice and criticism, especially when it is biblically sound and you know that they sincerely seek your well-being. Reason together according to the word of God, and know that a person has your best interest in mind when they urge you to do what is right.
The friends who are welcoming your sins may not be your best friends in the sight of God. Always pray for your friends, and also ask God for guidance and wisdom in the name of Jesus. This Sunday at South Side is “Friend Sunday.” We will be celebrating what true friendship means, and will be having a huge dinner after worship. Fresh coffee is available at our coffee bar before service! We would love to see you there at 10:45 as we come together to worship our awesome God!
South Side Church of Christ