Happy Tuesday! The word for this week is friendship. I am blessed to have wonderful friends and I always thank God for their lives. What is the meaning of friendship? What does a friend mean to you? I believe that friendship consists of loyalty, kindness, generosity, love, support and care. Friendship can be described as the state of being a friend or a friendly feeling or intimacy. A Friend means someone who is attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; person who gives assistance; a person who is on good terms with another. But what does the Bible say about friendship?
1) Friendship has to be healthy
Friendship is love and affection. There should not be any abuse or wrongs held by anyone in the friendship.
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 dishonour 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”.
A true friendship would not hold any of these things-envy, selfishness, boasting, jealously, pride, anger, bitterness or grudges. True friends rejoice with their friends when something great has happened. For example when your friend has got a promotion, you will be happy for them and thank God. Someone who is negative and does not wish the best for you is not a friend. However when someone hopes to see you be the best person you can possibly be, you should consider he or she a friend. Verse 5 of 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us that a friend can tell you the real and it will still be love. Don’t always think when a friend is correcting you, that they are against you- it is for your benefit. Proverbs 27:6 shows that it is better to have a friend who can tell you the truth which may hurt, rather than having someone kiss your butt! I know when my friends give me real, they are doing it because they love me. A true friend will tell you what you need to know, not what you want to hear! If a friendship is all about me, me, me-girl its not healthy! A friendship consists of two people, it is not self-seeking. A friendship does not hold ill thoughts against the other.
2) Friendship-Unconditional love
We discover who are true friends are through tough times. We know who are brothers and sisters are, when we are going through a hard time. The friends I am describing are people who are not only with you in the good times, but also in the not so good times-that’s real friendship! I love my friends because they accept me with both my strengths and weaknesses.
Proverbs 17:17-A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
The Bible says a friend should love at all times, regardless of the circumstances. We are imperfect beings, all of us are bound to make mistakes. A good friend would not take our mistakes and hold it as grudges. A friend would ask for forgiveness, or forgive their friend and keep it moving.
3) Friendship- Sacrifice
The bible says there is no greater love then when a friend lays down their life for us. Jesus is a great example of this. Jesus laid down his life for us all, so that we all may have salvation. Jesus showed real love and was not self-seeking. He cared for people and put others’ needs before his own. Jesus said let God’s will be done before his own.
John 15:13- Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends
This means by putting your friend’s needs above your own, not being selfish. This could be praying for your friend like you pray for yourself. You will be loving like Jesus, with this kind of love.
4) Friendship- Trust and loyalty
Trust and loyalty are important qualities to have in a friendship. There has to be trust in the friendship, so that you have confidence in sharing your life with them. There also has to be loyalty, so you can expect your friend to be dependable, reliable, faithful and sincere.
Proverbs 18:24- One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
However you have to be careful. Trusting easily can lead to ruin, it is best to trust a few loyal friends. This then will lead you to find a friend who you consider a brother or sister.
The Greatest Friendship in the Bible- David and Jonathan
One of the greatest examples of friendship in the Bible is David and Jonathan. Jonathan was loyal to David. Their friendship was like a brotherhood. The friendship between them was a covenantal relationship. In 1 Samuel 18:1-5, they formed an agreement. This is seen in 1 Samuel 20:14-17;42 & 1 Samuel 23:16-18 where they made an agreement that Jonathan was to be David’s second in command and for David to protect his family. David kept his promise, by seating Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth at his table (2 Samuel 9). These two men had a very good friendship . Their friendship showed sacrifice, loyalty, comprise, trust and emotional attachment. Their relationship is an example of a real friendship. Jonathan sacrificed his right to the throne, knowing God’s will for David to be King of Israel. He gave him his clothes and weapons recognising that David was a king. Jonathan was also loyal to David, warning him of his father King Saul’s anger towards him. No jealousy, no ill thinking, no me- me-me, it’s all about me. It was selfless, kindness, trust and generosity. We should learn from David and Jonathan’s friendship!
Friendship has negative aspects too. Some ‘friends’ can lead us into sin, some can lead us away from God. Some ‘friends’ will give us bad advice, some ‘friends’ will use you for their benefit. Some ‘friends’ can put doubt and fear into our hearts, so we lose faith and hope. Some ‘friends’ hold grudges that last forever. Some ‘friends’ will gossip about you. Some ‘friends’ will kiss your cheek but stab you in your back. The Bible warns us of ‘friends’ such as these, the best thing is to stay away from them.
Roll with people that love you and want the best for you!
Here are some bible verses on friendship:
1 Samuel 18:1-3 (NIV)-After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.
Proverbs 27:5-6 (NIV)-Better is open rebuke than hidden love.Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
John 15:13-15 (NIV)-Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)-A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 27:9 (NIV)-Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.
Proverbs 22:24-25 (NIV)-Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV)-Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labour: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up
Proverbs 22: 11 (NIV)-One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend.
Proverbs 12:26 (NIV)-The righteous choose their friends carefully,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
Proverbs 16:28 (NIV)-A perverse person stirs up conflict,
and a gossip separates close friends.
Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)-One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)-As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.