June 02, 2020 | Stories by Dottie Henry
A Sweet Friendship Refreshes the Soul (Proverbs 27:9)
Recently I went online looking for a quote on friendship. A long list of heart-warming sentiments filled my screen, along with some pretty funny truths reflecting the complexity of relationships. There was one from C.S. Lewis that said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” And “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” – Oprah Winfrey. And from Mr. Unknown Source the quote “After all, friends are the family you choose.”
Friends, especially close friends, are people in our lives who allow us to see ourselves as somewhat normal and yet special at the same time. They are the people who are there with us in the good times and show up even when we don’t want them to – when we are at our worst, in the bad.
The Bible has some great things to teach regarding what we are to look for when choosing friends. Proverbs 18:24 says “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” This tells us that it is quality of friendship, rather than the quantity, that really matters. While we live in a world that measures popularity by the number of friends we have on Facebook, or followers on Instagram, the Bible speaks of something deeper when it comes to relationships.
The Bible teaches that we are not only to be intentional when it comes to choosing friends; we are to be cautious. Proverbs 12:26 states, “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Good friends can be life-giving, bad friends can actually bring us down and take us off course. Good friends are the people whose heart-commitment is shown in practical, often sacrificial, ways. They are the ones who are quick to encourage when we doubt, tell the truth, even when it hurts, and leave chocolate for us we’ve had a really bad day. These are the kind of people we want to invite into our inner circle, the ones we give permission to speak into our lives.
Giving ourselves away can be scary. It is a very vulnerable thing to let someone in so close that they know all of our stuff. Sometimes that fear can cause us to build walls that keep people out rather than doors that invite others in. The truth is, not everyone can hold our stuff. That is why we need to be concerned. And not everyone brings out the best in us, which is why we must learn to choose carefully. We must develop the capacity to choose well because walling ourselves off is not an option. God has designed us for community and relationships, for knowing and being known. If we are going to become all God has created us to be, it is going to be in the context of community because some of His best work is done in a circle of friends.