“A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes.” Proverbs 17:17
"Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." -- 1 Thessalonians 5:11
"Let us therefor make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification." -- Romans 14:19
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." -- Hebrews 10:24
Let's talk about friendship. I say this because I am getting the feeling God really wants to talk to me about friendship. It is the virtue of the month in our KidsPraise program. We talked about being a good friend and an encourager at a recent small group meeting. I am contemplating the hard task of saying goodbye to very dear friends in the near future. I have new friends at work. And this morning, my Bible study lesson was all about friendship. I also feel part of the reason the world seems like such a harsh place is that many people don't really know how to be an encouraging friend.
Facebook is a wonderful tool to stay connected to our friends. I rely on it every day to communicate and share with many people I have met or am acquainted with in my life. However, being friends on Facebook is not where we should stop when it comes to friendship. I have hundreds of friends on Facebook, and it is impossible to be real, true, life-long, encouraging friends with all of them! A true friend does more than give you a :-) on your birthday and a nice comment on the picture you posted of your latest Pinterest post.
By reading the verses above, you can see that being a real friend takes a lot of commitment and is a HUGE responsibility.
* loving at all times
* there in times of trouble
* building up
* bring peace
* work toward mutual edification
* spur on towards peace and good deeds
If you have a friend who does those things for you, than you have a TRUE friend! A friend like that gets you through life. A friend like that leads you to be a better person. A friend like that can save your life!
A friend like that thinks of others before themselves. In our society, that is not the norm. We are led to believe we have to look out for ourselves because no one else will. The "dog-eat-dog" world we live in leads us to superficial friendships that we use to get us to the next place we are going. We want influential friends. We want friends who are just like us. We don't want to WORK at our friendships. Our friends are for the fun times. And we certainly don't want to get into THEIR business. When our friends are in trouble, we are too busy in our own lives to help them.
In my opinion, this is one of the main reasons the world is such a harsh and ugly place sometimes. People really don't know how to BE a friend and don't know the blessings of HAVING a friend. Hebrews 3:13 warns us that we do not encourage others and get encouragement ourselves, we can become hardened by sin's deceitfulness. WOW! Doesn't that describe a lot of people in this world? They are hardened by life. Without a friend to encourage and soften those hard edges, our hearts become hard and we are even further away from being able to encourage others. The cycle just continues, and we end up in a cold, hard, and closed off world.
So, let's work at being better friends. What can you do today to encourage someone you are close to? It may mean using that Facebook tool to send an encouraging message to a friend who is having a hard time. Send a card. Send a text. Give someone a call. Go visit someone who you haven't seen for a while. What you will find is that when you ARE a friend to someone, you will RECEIVE the blessings of friendship as well. If each of us would be a better friend to just a few of the people closest to us, and really get invested in their lives, it will cause a ripple effect. The benefits of true friendship will make this world a better place!