How to be a good friend

How To Be A Good Friend

The first Christian singer I discovered was Michael W Smith when I was in middle school. I fell in love with his voice when I heard the song “Friends” on America’s Top 40 Countdown. The chorus says “friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the lord of them,” which assured me I would always have the friends that believed in Jesus. Where I grew up, pretty much everybody was Christian, so it comforted me supposing I would never lose my friends

Sadly, time exposed my adolescent wisdom as a romanticized fantasy.

Just like me, I know you’ve lost friends, ditched some, and let good ones fade away. I’m also sure you’ve made new friends, held some close, and reconnected with a few.

There are many scriptures about friendship, but I believe one verse embraces all others. I hope to apply this verse and others like it show you how to protect and repair your friendships.

How To Be A Good Friend

Proverbs 17:17 is a lighthouse verse to guide our friendships, even through life’s storms.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

(emphasis mine)

What does a friend do?

A friend loves.

But love is more than how we feel; it’s about how we behave. Fortunately, our God is practical, and He tells us exactly how to love one another in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

This verse defines love with fifteen specific behaviors (in bold). I cringe when my to-do list for one day has fifteen items! People aren’t always nice, and we’re not perfect, so how can we possibly love people this way our whole lives?

We can’t. That’s why relationships become strained and distant.

Do you want lifelong friendships? Find out how at 5 Proverbs to Preserve Your Friendships for a Lifetime. Click To Tweet

Enter Jesus.

Is the Lord the lord of you?

So what does it mean when the Lord is lord of you? The word “lord” (lower case) means “master”. A master is someone how rules over you, someone you submit to. When the Lord is lord of you, you do what they say – it’s about surrender.

It’s not enough to just believe in Jesus to have thriving friendships- we must surrender to His instructions for how to live. When Jesus is the lord of you, then you will be a more patient, kind, forgiving, and loyal friend. 

Time to Surrender for Your Friendships

August 1 was Friendship Day, so I encourage you to allow Jesus to be the lord of your life, pray, and take action to strengthen or mend a friendship this month. Think of a friendship you’d like to strengthen or mend. You might start by sharing this post with her. I’ve provided more Proverbs about friendship and Michael W Smith’s song “Friends” to help get you started.

If your friend also allows Jesus to be the lord of her life, then both Michael W Smith and Jesus agree: Love will endure forever.

4 More Proverbs About Friendship

  • There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
  • A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28
  • Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27:5-6
  • The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. Proverbs 12:26

Your Turn: What have you done in the past to strengthen or mend a friendship? What could you do now?

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