Friends are very sustaining. In fact it is possible to feel lonely in the midst of a busy life without one or two real friends. A real friend loves you no matter what (Prov 17:17). A real friend accepts you and will not show a critical spirit towards you.
We all need to handle these precious bonds with care. Jesus said that some friendships are so strong that a man might lay his life down for his friend. But sadly friendships can evaporate through carelessness. The tongue is the commonest way to kill a friendship. Words can wound, no matter to whom they are spoken. Parents can deeply hurt their children. Children can wound their parents. Husbands and wives can easily offend each other. Whilst scripture tells us that wounds from a friend can be trusted, friends can ruin what they have enjoyed with foolish words. These words are often spoken “in truth and love” but in fact convey neither! Worse still, gossip is guaranteed to separate even close friends (Prov 16:28)
Rather, we can show love to our friends in small deeds of kindness. We can show our integrity by being loyal to them. This may involve having enough courage to take sides on occasions. We can bring some joy to them by bringing out good things in the other.
None of us can create friendships – they are more organic than that. But as they grow, lets not be passive and wait for the other to call, but lets nurture them and protect them.
J John says a friend is:
1 Committed (Prov 18:24). Have few and be loyal to them
2 Considerate (Prov 19:22). Show your love
3 Confidential (Prov 11:13). Able to keep secrets
4 Candid (Prov 24:26 & 27:5). Open and honest
5 Constructive (Prov 27:17). Brings out good things in the other
6 Consistent (Prov 17:17). Faithful no matter what
7 Jesus is all of the above. The friends we are will shape the friends we have.