I have my favorite Scriptures on friendship – two or three, but I don’t know that I’ve ever taken the time to sit down and search out the Scriptures on this topic before now.
Tuesday evening I was honored to attend my first Facebook party as my friend, Kathy Bornarth, launched her new book, The Friendship Guidebook: A Journaling Roadmap to Making Friends. During the party, Kathy stirred our memories with questions about our childhood friendships, and she stirred our minds as she asked questions which caused us to think more deeply about friendship.
Sparked by the conversations that evening, I was reminded that friendships bless us with someone to share our life journey with, to confide in, and to make memories with. Our friends provide comfort to us and a sense of belonging. And that healthy friendships can even lower stress!
Just as Jesus had varying types of friendships, so should we. He had a special friendship with the twelve disciples and beyond that there was His even deeper friendship with the three – soul friends.
Soul Friendship is the spiritual practice of engaging fellow disciples of Jesus in prayerful conversation or other spiritual practices. It is an intimate, life-giving relationship that helps you pay attention to the activity of God in your life and that helps you to respond.
A soul friend is a friend who knows your history, who knows your weaknesses, who celebrates your strengths, and who knows God intimately.
Ordinary friendships are built on intimacy, trust, and mutual enjoyment of one another. Soul friendships share these same qualities but are also characterized by an additional element. Soul friends actively help each other pay attention to God. This additional element is what makes these friendships so powerful (Ephesians 4:16). When we are struggling, soul friendships can still connect us to God.
Friendships – of any level – are one of God’s greatest gifts to us. We need to be mindful, intentional about watching for new friendships that God may be orchestrating for us AND in developing and maintaining those friendships.
What does the Bible say about FRIENDSHIP?
The Qualities of a Friend
- Proverbs 12:26 – One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. (Walks with God)
- Proverbs 16:28 – A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. (Doesn’t gossip)
- Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Is loyal)
- Proverbs 22:24-25 – Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. (Exhibits self-control)
- Proverbs 25:17 – Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you. (Establishes and observes boundaries)
- Proverbs 27:5-6 – Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (Speaks the truth in love)
- Proverbs 27:9 – Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. (Offers wise advice)
- Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Helps you grow)
- Mark 12:31 – The second is this:‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Loves you)
- Romans 12:15 – Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Shares your journey)
How to Be a Friend
- Proverbs 13:12 – Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (Remember and follow through)
- Proverbs 20:6 – Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find? (Be faithful)
- Luke 6:31 – And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. (Treat a friend the way you would love to be treated)
- Romans 12:10 – Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Honor them; then honor them some more)
- Ephesians 4:29-32 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Keep confidences, speak wisely, encourage, build up, show kindness, be forgiving.)
- Colossians 3:12-14 – Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Be compassionate, kind, patient, forgiving. Show LOVE.)
The Benefits of Friendship
- Proverbs 11:14 – Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. (Safety)
- Proverbs 19:20 – Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. (Wisdom)
- Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Spiritual Growth)
- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 – Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! (Support)
- I Thessalonians 5:18 – Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (Encouragement)
Friendship – Not for the faint of heart but so worth the effort.
[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]God’s essence is community. He designed us in His image–the image of community. We have been designed for friendship![/tweetthis]