A wise man develops a small number of people who become close, intimate friends with whom he can be authentic and transparent even to the deepest levels of his life. Notice what Proverbs says about friends:
- 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” You are not on a performance basis with true friendship but are always accepted.
- 18:24, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” A friend is much more than a companion. Don’t mistake a companion for a friend. You will be disappointed. Friendship takes time and effort to develop as well as compassion, kindness, patience, faithfulness, and forgiveness.
- 22:11, “He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.” These are the qualities of a true, dear friend of character.
- 27:6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Candor and honesty are foundational to friendship. Don’t be confused with and misinterpret superficial emotions. Again, when the rowing gets rough, times are tough and money is lean, you will be disappointed with acquaintances. Friends do not coddle when you are wrong. Trusted friends “Speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). They speak straightforwardly without a judgmental attitude willing to ruffle some feathers when their words are not initially well received.
- 18:1, cautions us not to isolate ourselves. We need friends to help keep us on the straight and narrow path. “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” Our lives will not be lived fruitfully alone without trusted friends.
If you don’t have close friends, intentionally look at your neighbors, at the parents of your children’s friends or join a Life Group (small group) at your local church. Don’t forget, you have to be friendly, vulnerable and willing to invest the time and effort to develop friendships. Ask God for friends. It is worth it!! I remember the jingle that our kids sang as children. It is laden with truth, “Make new friends but keep the old; One is silver and the other is gold!”