Life is a series of unending lessons. One of the greater (and more painful) ones to learn is: surround yourself with people who will lift you up.
Friendships can be difficult. It’s simple enough to become friends with someone in a light-hearted and “easy” way. However, when you go through difficulties in life, when you make a mistake, the strength of your friendship will be put to a test and then the true worth it will come to light.
Will your friends remain after you hurt their feelings? Will they forgive you and choose to love you despite your failings? Or will they move on because the friendship doesn’t matter enough to them?
Do your friends encourage you to be a better person? Do they call you out on your mistakes with love?
Alternatively, are you there for your friends when they need you? Do you ask for forgiveness when you’ve made a mistake or hurt them?
Even though marriage is a sacred relationship with vows made before God, the Bible has surprisingly some very strong descriptions of what comprises a friendship.
In Proverbs, we find honest truths about the characters we surround ourselves with:
Some friendships do not last, but some friends are more loyal than brothers. (18:24)
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (13:20)
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared. (22:24-25)
The apostle John goes even further to define true love (and friendship!) as this:
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (15:13)
The fact is, we are deeply influenced by those around us. Who we spend time with affects us. We mimic the ones who have a profound influence on us and we ourselves must be aware that we may sway our friends as well.
So we know how important friendships are–what now?
Is it time for you evaluate the friends around you?
Is the loss of a friendship, though painful at first, perhaps a gift?
If that dear friend of yours hurts you–remember that none of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. We have a chance to edify and to lift each other us up instead of engaging in gossip or negativity. (Believe me, this was a painful lesson for me to learn!)
Believe the best about people. Pray for their short comings. You are not the standard. We all need grace.
DAILY PRAYER: LORD, teach me how to be a friend who can be relied upon and trusted. If I am lonely, bring me to the friendship where both of us can challenged and encouraged. Remind me that we all need grace. Amen.