Proverbs has much wisdom to share about friendship:
- Friends should be lovingly honest with one another.
Lovingrebuke from a friend is better than kisses and flattering from an enemy (27:5-6). Even kings will want to be friends with those who have pure hearts and gracious lips (22:11).
- Friends should encourage one another through heartfelt counsel (27:9).
- Friends should be loyal to one another. They should be able to rely upon one another and help one another especially in times of trouble (27:10; 17:17). They should not just be friends in good times (14:20; 19:4,7). They don’t listen to or allow gossip about one another affect their friendship (16:28; 17:9).
- Friends should be sensitive to one another needs. They don’t try to bless at appropriate times – early in the morning (27:14)
- Friends should influence one another for good. Like iron sharpening iron, their discussions, suggestions, ideas, criticism help each other improve (27:17).
- Friends should be very careful about foolish financial partnerships – like co-signing for one another (6:1-3; 17:18).
- Friends should be nice to one another – friendly (18:24).
- Friends should be careful of the destructive impact of sinful anger (22:24).
As we consider these instructions, here are a few questions for reflection:
- What type of friend are you being?
- Are you lovingly honest? Or do you only say what the other person wants rather than needs?
- Do you bring joy to your friends through your counsel and encouragement?
- Are you loyal? Are you there even when your friends are going through times of difficulty and poverty?
- How are you helping your friends improve?
- Are you careful about foolish financial arrangements and anger?
If we improve in the type of friends that we are, we should reap better friendships in return. This can help us in our homes, in our churches, in our workplaces, in our schools, and in all our relationships.