“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”
As we continue our study of the Book of Proverbs, we turn to the topic of friendship. What do the proverbs have to say about creating and maintaining friendships? Quite a lot, actually! The Bible is extremely practical in nature. Let’s learn together.
A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
What is one quality of a strong friendship? A friend is someone you can depend on when the challenging times of life emerge. A friend doesn’t just love you when you’re having fun together. A true friend realizes that adversity and hardship are natural aspects of life.
As the well known song by Bill Wither’s says, “Lean on me when you’re not strong. I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on.” These are not just catchy lyrics— there’s a lot of truth in them. Be the type of friend that actively supports your friends who are going through the tough times of life. Make the phone call. Write the letter. Be the listening ear.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
In Old Testament times, one iron blade would be used to sharpen another iron blade. In the process, both blades ended up sharpened. This principle applies to friendship. Strong friendships will sharpen you i.e. they will encourage you to become a better version of yourself. Good friends will encourage you through thoughtful conversations to follow God more fully.
The sharpening process is not always a comfortable one. Sometimes it includes crucial conversations. Friends who sharpen one another are able to be completely open and honest in their conversations. Be the type of friend that thoughtfully engages in sharpening conversations, and is sharpened in return. Do not avoid the conversation with a friend that you really need to have, even if it may be painful.
These next two proverbs go together as the kind of friendship to avoid.
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,
do not associate with one easily angered,
or you may learn their ways
and get yourself ensnared.
A dishonest person stirs up conflict,
and a gossip separates close friends.
Do your friendships encourage you to become the kind of person you desire to be? Proverbs teaches that we become like those that we count as community. If we are around friends who struggle with their tempers, we may be more prone to unleash ourselves as well. If we are constantly surrounded by friends that enjoy stirring up conflict, chances are we are going to be caught up in the drama too.
This principle is one that we teach our kids (be careful when choosing your friends), and it is a good reminder for us as well. Be the type of friend that discourages anger and gossip and instead encourages honest and truthful communication.
The Book of Proverbs offers down to earth, practical wisdom for everyday living. The key is applying the wisdom to our lives.
This Sunday we continue our series titled 40 Days Of Wisdom.
See you on Sunday!