This morning, yearbook coordinator Jenny Stout taught the girls’ Bible study continuing today’s theme of “God Fits My Relationships,” focusing specifically on friendships. She began by asking what the Bible says about friendships. How are we to choose our friends? How should friends treat one another?
John 15:12-15 tells us: “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” God is our greatest friend: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).
But how should we pick our friends?
1. Proverbs 12:26 — “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
2. Proverbs 13:20 — “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
3. Proverbs 14:6,7 — “A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding. Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.”
4. 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.”
5. I Corinthians 15:33 — “Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.”
How should we treat our friends?
1. Luke 6:31 — “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
2. Romans 12:10 — “Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.”
3. 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.”
4. 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.”
Good friendships are VERY important:
1. Proverbs 11:14 — “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
2. Proverbs 17:17 — “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
3. Proverbs 19:20 — “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”
4. Proverbs 24:5 — “A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might.”
5. Proverbs 27:17 — “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
There are many wonderful examples of great friendships within the Bible. Friendships can be forged among different ages and from anywhere. Ruth became friends with her mother-in-law Naomi and they became family, looking out for one another throughout their lives (Ruth 1:16,17). Sometimes friendships form almost instantly. Have you ever met anyone that you just knew immediately was going to be a good friend? David and Jonathan were just like that (I Samuel 18:1-3). Jesus had a close friendship with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus to a point where they spoke plainly to Him, and He resurrected Lazarus from the dead (Luke 10:38; John 11:21-23). True friends are able to speak their minds honestly to one another, whether right or wrong. Meanwhile, friends do what they can to tell each other the truth and help one another. Friends introduce friends to other friends. Paul introduced friends Priscilla and Aquila to one another and asked that his greetings be sent to those close to him (Romans 16:3,4). Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus are the types of friends that take care of those close to them (Philippians 2:19-26).
10 Ways to Cultivate and Grow Your Friendships
1. Lose the Judgment : Friends see each other with no judgment. “Judge not, that you be not judged” — Matthew 7:1
2. Be Honest: Honesty is a very important trait of a good friend. “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them” — Proverbs 11:3
3. Listen: Listening to your friend can help you grow closer. “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” — James 1:19
4. Give Rather Than Take: Giving is better than receiving. Find ways to give to your friends and expect nothing in return. “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” — Acts 20:35
5. Have Fun: Friends need to have fun with one another. Make sure you are doing things you both like and you laugh together. “And also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.” — Ecclesiastes 3:13
6. Learn to Compromise: Everyone has different interests, likes, and dislikes, and friends do not always agree with one another, therefore friends need to learn to compromise with one another. “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.” — I Corinthians 9:19-23
7. Trust Your Friend: It is important to have trust in your friend, like David and Jonathan.
8. Be Supportive: Sometimes a friend just needs a shoulder to cry on or a cheer from the audience. “Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it.” — Ezra 10:4
9. Empathize: Being empathetic means that you are able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” — Romans 12:15
10. Share Your Feelings: Opening yourself up to another person is a part of growing your friendship. “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” — James 5:16