Before God created Eve at the beginning of Creation, He said that it’s not good for man to be alone. Sure, creating a female companion for Adam meant that life could multiply, but that was not the sole purpose for Eve’s creation. Adam shared a very close relationship with God at the time, the world being perfect and just how God intended it to be. However, God knew that Adam was missing out on a different sort of relationship: a friendship.
Of course, God wants to be the most important thing in our lives and He longs to commune with us, but God knows that humans can’t be alone. Humans need human friendships.
It can be challenging to find lasting friendships. It can be hard to find someone who is just as interested in getting to know us as we are them. Perhaps we have searched for someone to call our “besties”; for someone with whom we know will be friends for the rest of our lives. Perhaps we have many friendships, yet we’re not confident that they will last. Friends come and go, and people change. This makes it hard to make lasting friendships, or at least to be sure that they are true friends.
“Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.” – Proverbs 22:24-25
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.” – Proverbs 13:20
“As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” – Proverbs 27:17
“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.” – Proverbs 12:26
“Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’” I Corinthians 15:33
All these verses indicate that the people whom we call friends will impress their character upon us. Why did “Do not be deceived” have to be added before the warning in I Corinthians 15:33? Naturally we are easily deceived when it comes to friendships. It’s not black and white. The evil companions will not have a big mark on their forehead. In fact, they are likely to be alluring and exciting! That is why we need to be warned.
So, if we are unsure of who our true friends are, how can we find out? Here are 3 helpful steps:
We may not know which friendships are true and false, but God does. It’s unlikely that He’ll give us a vision or speak to us in an audible voice, but if we ask Him to show us, He will in some way. Ask Him to reveal which friendships are true, and which ones to take a step back from.
Consult the Bible
When we read about God’s guidelines for friendship, we will have a clearer idea of what we should look for in a friend. Perhaps not all our questions will be answered, but we will be better informed than if we do not read the Bible at all.
Examine our companions
Have a look at our current friendships. By having a sort of overview, we may be able to identify the friendships that have lasted many years and have not changed. Keep a look out for the friendships that have stayed just as true despite long times apart.
Once we have identified those who are true friends, or who could be, we should invest our time in those friendships. We should lessen our time spent with those superficial friends. Obviously, the more time we spend with particular friends, the more the bonds will be strengthened. It is the time spent on the lasting friendships that will matter in the long run.
If we have not found these friendships, perhaps we should consider changing our surroundings. If our friendships are feeling fake or non-existent, perhaps we are surrounding ourselves with the wrong crowds. Perhaps we are in fact surrounded by genuine people, but we are too shy to approach. Whatever it is, if we feel we are in the wrong place: move! If we haven’t approached some nice people: approach! Easier said than done, I know. But the decisions we make now, however difficult they may be, create a ripple effect for the future.
Have you ever had to walk away from a friend because of the negative influence? Was it easy or hard? What about the good friends, have your seen those good friendships grow because you walked away from the fake ones? We’d love to hear your stories and tips!
Sarah Tinning – Column: Living With a Positive Mindset
Sarah is a 18-year-old, living in Australia. She loves God, her family, singing, writing songs and novels, and playing guitar. She enjoys meeting up with friends, and just putting a smile on people’s faces; even better, making them laugh! She blogs about books, movies, music, and life at www.foreveraspiringwriter.wordpress.com