In our context, a friend according to Webster means: one attached to another by affection or esteem or a favored companion.
Over the last couple of years, I have talked with many people who have told me they do not have any friends. Some indicated they have neither off line or on line friends. They indicated that they felt that no one cared about them, no one loved them, no one wanted to spend time with them. The Word of God does tell us a lot about friends. We can see examples of close friendship in the Bible. Abraham and lot we not only relatives, they we friends as were Ruth and Naomi David and Jonathan were close friends also. However, this discussion is not about them. It is about "you" and your friends...or lack of them. Lets check it out:
These are some things we should consider in our discussion on Friends:
1: BE A FRIEND
Proverbs 18:24a A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:
Oh how often have we gone to a large social gathering such as church or a concert and stood around waiting...waiting for someone to come to us and talk to us. Yet as we stand in that crowed vestibule, we feel so very alone. Does anyone care? Does anyone know I am even here? Yet if we would look around we can see a half dozen others...doing the very same thing. Still none of these will make the first move to be a doer of the word above..to show themselves friendly. Each one will go home in a short time feeling no one cared. Here are some things we need to consider in our friendships:
A: CALL THEM BY NAME:
3 John 1:14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name. Our names are special to us. When someone takes the time to remember it it means so much. This is an area I personally have problems with. When we meet someone, make sure we repeat their name to them as it helps impress it on our mind. To have others speak our name is music to our ears. Oh how it must be music to Jesus to hear us speak His name! JESUS...JESUS...JESUS...there is something about THAT Name...Master, Savior, JESUS. Like the fragrance after the rain.....
B: BE HONEST
Proverbs 27:17: Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
Proverbs 27:9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.
Do we want friends to tell us what we what to hear? Or what we need to hear? A friend will tell us what we need to hear. They will be honest, Truth however does hurt. When we hear truth it means we have to do something with that truth. It usually means changing our behavior in some way. A friend will tell us when something does not look good on us. They will tell us when we have been wrong. At the same time, being true friends means we will tell THEM when something is wrong, much as mentioned above. This may not be as easy as it sounds for we will often think we need to mind our own business. We will be afraid of losing their friendship if we tell them things they should know. Oh mind you, I am not talking about telling them something someone else is doing wrong...that is a whole different message. I am referring to what each other may need to hear.
C: FRIENDS GIVE
Luke 11: 6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
Luke 11:8 I say unto you,
Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of
his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
We have all heard the saying, "A friend in need is a friend in deed" It often does us good to offer our friends help when they need it. Folks, remember, if we are in need, it is a blessing for others to offer us help too yet how often do we feel like rejecting that help because our friend my not have much themselves? How often to we prevent them from being blessed to offer help by refusing it? In this case could we not say a true friend "accepts" also?
D: SATISFIED WITH POSITION
Luke 14:10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
Do we get jealous if others
share our friends? Do we want all their attention? I will be saying
more on this topic later.
E: A FRIEND REJOICES OR CRIES WITH US
Luke 15:6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
Luke 15: 8-10
Either what woman having ten pieces of silver,
if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek
diligently till she find it?
And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost
Often when someone we call a friend loses something very dear to them, perhaps a loved one, another friend, or their health, we may avoid them because we feel we do not know what to say. Folks often there is no need to say anything. Just being there...and even helping them to cry will speak much more then any words we can say. It says. I CARE!
When a friend is blessed, do we rejoice with them? Or do we feel that is no big deal (unless it happened to us) Romans 12: 15 tells us "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
There is another side to consider . We often prevent friendships from developing. Lets turn our attention to some ways we can do this:
F: BLOCKS TO FRIENDSHIPS
We can often build walls to making friends. We do this by not being a friend. We do this by actions we feel will drive them away. Many of us have had issues of abuse or feelings of worthlessness in the past. These two often go hand in hand. As a result, we have often felt REJECTED.
The feeling of being rejected is so powerful we often do things to reject others before they can reject us. It is so much easier when we refuse their friendship, then when we feel they refused us. As a result we build barriers or walls around ourselves. We will discuss a few of them here:
Proverbs 16:28 A froward
man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
Proverbs 17:9 He that
covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth
Luke 15:29 And he
answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither
transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid,
that I might make merry with my friends:
How often do we feel we should have gotten a reward, a praise, a good post when we have worked hard on one yet to see others get the reward, the praise, the credit for what we feel we did? Or what if we see someone getting what for. are we thinking yea get them? Often we even help set the stage for the "get them" part. We tell things that are not quite true. Or we leave out things that should have been said. Marriages have been broken up by this. I wonder? did the person spreading the rumor rejoice in this? In my area of ministry some have been falsely accused of crimes they did not do. Some of these willful false accusations have lead to actual death. One such case is reported in The Road Home.
2: Personal Hygiene
I have had chats with some that said they did not have friends except for on the internet. We talked about this often and every suggestion I could make was blown out of the water. Sometime later, I was talking to another person who knew this person in real life. It became clear why he/se did not have any close friends. No one could stand getting close. Their personal hygiene has much to be desired. Yet I wonder if anyone pointed this out to that person? A real friend would have! Proverbs 27:9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel. Folks there is a difference between stinking because one has not bathed and sticking because one has been sweating from working hard.
Oh at times we can bathe and still have body odor. If we are overweight, we need to pay careful attention to skin folds, We also need to make sure we change cloths often especially if we sweat a lot. The use of perfume can help, but remember it does not eliminate odor, it covers it up so it does NOT replace bathing.
We need to make ourselves attractive to those around us but not in a way that promotes wrong thoughts.
Remember, personal hygiene includes teeth and hair.
Does this matter to GOD? Oh yes my friend. Although HE tells us that it is not the outward person that counts, we ARE HIS ambassadors. Can you imagine how fast an ambassador in our diplomatic corp. would be called home if he dressed like a bum when meeting the leadership of the country he was in? Should not we represent our KING carefully?
At times we can be so starved for friendship, that when we do find someone to be a friend, we can latch on like a leech on bare skin. We will demand almost every waking moment be spent with us. Often if we see them chatting with someone else we will expect them to drop other chats to focus only on us. If we see them spend time with others we become jealous. We will often tell them we are not important to them and try to make them feel guilty. Folks, this is not friendship, it is control and that is abuse. Real friends do not get jealous of friends having other friends. Our friends are not possessions to keep to ourselves but are treasures to share.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
At times we can be critical of what friends do but over look what we do. However, we can do this in reverse too. We can be critical of what we do to the point that our friends do not want to point out faults they may legitimately see in us. They are afraid to say anything because we will tell them it is all our fault and take the blame for everything when that was not the intent. We make them feel they are walking on egg shells.
There are of course other things that enter into this. We know that the rich have many "friends" or so they think. but often when the money is gone, so are the friends. Real friends are coming IN when others are going OUT. They will be there through thick and thin. (See Proverbs 14:20, and 19:4 )
There are times we can not be friends with those who keep selecting a certain type of friends.
James 4:4: Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
This would include being close friends with anyone that is leading us astray. Those who encourage us to do things we know God is not pleased with. How about those that give us bad advise? Advise to leave our husband or wife without getting all the facts? I ask, Who Are Your Advisors?
5: FRIENDS SACRIFICE FOR A FRIEND
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Recently I was watching one of those cop shows. In this one, someone had taken a lot of young people hostage in a restaurant. This person was psychotic as he demanded several trillion dollars ransom This was very unrealistic At one point he said he was going to kill someone to proof he meant business. and he asked for someone to volunteer or he would kill all the men and women there. One young man stood up and said he would volunteer to die so the others could live. Greater love has no one then this. He was willing to give his life so others could live. He was not killed, but he offered his life. This man should have been made a real hero. Nothing was said about this. But this man was a real friend to all those there. even the ones that did not know him., This brings us to our last point.
REAL FRIENDS REQUIRE A RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
We can not have a right relationship with others unless we have a right relationship with God first. It is:
The First Step Toward Better Relationships
Zechariah 13 6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
Jesus was betrayed by a friend. yet HE did not reject that friend. He reached out even when HE was betrayed and called this betrayer "friend"
My friend, how about YOU? Do you need a friend today? Do you need the friend that sticks closer then a brother? The friend who laid down His life for YOU that You might live? Sure this man died my friend, but the grave could not hold Him for He is alive and the tomb He was laid in is EMPTY.
Go back to that link above if you need this friend. Click on it and read it. Accept HIS extended nailed scared hands of friendship. Do it today. PLEASE!
My friend have you accepted those nailed scared hands? but you have strayed so far away? Come back to HIM today.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
words to What a Friend We Have in Jesus were written by Joseph M. Scriven in 1855. Scriven wrote this hymn to comfort
his mother, who was across the sea from him in Ireland. It was originally
published anonymously, and Scriven did not receive full credit
for almost 30 years. Joseph left for Canada shortly after is soon to
be wife died.
Scriven graduated from Trinity College. After his fiancée drowned
the night before they were to marry, he moved to Canada in 1846. There he taught in Woodstock and Brantford, Ontario, and was a tutor for the
Pengelly family near Bewdley. It was there he met and became engaged
to Eliza Roche, a relative of the Pengellys. In what seems too amaz ing to be coincidence, Eliza died shortly before their wedding.
Following the death of his second fiancée, Scriven joined the Plym
outh Brethren, helping the aged members of the community.
Oh so often, knowing the story behind the words to the songs that
bless us, makes the song so much more meaningful. Read these words
my friend...and no matter what pain YOU are going through, remember
the source of our comfort, JESUS CHRIST
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grieves to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He'll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.
John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant
knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for
all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
My friend, if you can not call JESUS, Your "friend" please check this link!
This message is from the ministry of Shattered Men