[April 3]--People Who Need People, Part Four

Prov. 17:14; 25:17; 27:5-6; 25:19-20; 26:18-19; 27:17

As we wrap up this study on friendship, I wanted to do so by listing and examining some key qualities we need in order to maintain them. Here’s what I found:

Let me share with you a slogan that has saved me from a lot of strife with the best friend I have on earth, namely my wife. That slogan? PYB, standing for “pick your battles.” Ask yourself, “Is this a hill I want to die on?” There are times to stand your ground, but often we need to keep our trap shut when it’s not worth arguing over.

• I remember a dear friend I had in college who really needed to take 25:17 to heart. Have you ever had someone in your life who had to spend every waking moment with you? Who didn’t understand the need for some “space” every once in a while?

We’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: A friend who only tells you what you’d like to hear is not a true friend. An enemy multiplies kisses (compliments) in order to butter you up, often to get something out of you. I’d rather have a friend who loved me enough to tell me I was screwing up.

25:19 is something I really need to work on. I have a bad habit of telling my wife I’m going to do something and then neglect to follow through. A bad tooth and a lame foot are both extremely irritating, but an unreliable friend is even worse, isn’t he?

• I’ve also discovered the truth of 25:20 in my marriage. When my wife is having a “blue” day and is really down, that’s not the time to be the comedian. Christ is certainly sensitive to our pain, and we need to follow his example in dealing with the hurting people around us.

• I listed 26:18-19 mainly for the guys. Someone pointed out to me a long time ago this truth about men: Best buds can tease each other and say things to each other that would end the friendship of two women. As guys we’ll tease each other and play pranks on each other, and everybody laughs it off. This isn’t necessarily all bad, but it can easily go overboard. Just be careful, and think before you speak, OK?

And finally we see one of my favorite verses about this topic. These are the best friendships I’ve ever had in my life: The ones in which I’m challenged to be a better follower of Christ because of the example of someone. Truly best friends will encourage each other, challenge each other, and “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

For an obvious application, let me ask you a question: “Who’s your ‘iron’”? Do you have someone who holds you accountable for your walk with the Savior? Someone who asks the tough questions and who encourages you when you’re doing right? If so, thank God right now for that person. If not, pray for him or her, because that’s one of the most precious gifts our Father can give you.

Lord Jesus, thank you so much for the friends I’ve had in my life, both past and present. They truly are your channel of grace to me. I want to be that channel to them as well, please.

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