Prov. 11:13; 17:9; 19:11; 17:17; 20:3; 22:11; 27:9
Yesterday we listed some people whom you need to avoid when it comes to choosing friends, so of course today we’re going to emphasize the positive. What type of qualities would Solomon encourage us to look for in our friends?
• Have you noticed how often Solomon criticizes gossips? I love the phrasing here: When you confide in someone, you’re placing your trust in them. If they’re a true friend, they’ll keep your secrets secret.
• If he has a dispute with you, he’s going to do everything possible to keep it between you and him. He won’t be prone to drag in third parties to settle arguments.
• Now here’s a good point. Do you realize that sometimes you shouldn’t forgive offenses? Because if possible, you should just let it go, just overlook it. Can I bring in some more tough love here? Get over it!!! Quit taking everything personally! This has got to be one of the most common maladies in modern America: thin skin. I think this verse especially applies if the offender wasn’t trying consciously to hurt you, which I would guess is most of the time. If they didn’t mean to offend, then if you go out of your way to publicly “forgive” them, then you’ve probably done more harm than good.
• He’s there when times are really tough, and when it’s not popular to support you. He loves at all times, not just when it’s easy.
• He avoids strife whenever possible, not looking for an excuse to fight. When he does fight, it’s for something important, not for his “honor.”
• His speech is gracious, or full of grace. He's kind, compassionate, and encouraging in the way he speaks to his friends.
• Finally, he gives earnest counsel. The last point about gracious speech doesn’t mean he makes excuses for misbehavior that he sees. When someone needs a “kick in the rear,” a true friend will say what’s necessary.
Of course, as we noted yesterday, all of these apply to our Savior. You can pour out your heart to him, and he won’t reveal your secrets, no matter what. He’s the gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. All of us can testify how he’s quick to forgive, and loves us most when we’re at our worst. And has there ever been anyone who’s more gentle, kind, compassionate, and uplifting in how he treats those who come to him?
You know what’s coming next, don’t you? How long have you been reading this devotional? What question do you think I’m going to ask next? You know what it is—How good of a friend are you? Go back through this list, and hold up the mirror.
Lord Jesus, I know for myself, that I'm so thin-skinned. I’m quick to anger and have a hair-trigger “offense” radar. By your grace, I want to do better. Please.