Ashley and I pulled a late night, messaging back and forth, emails flying. Technology eliminated the literal the miles between us so we could work together and wrap up everything needed for a conference workshop deadline. And we met it. A month later after teaching the actual workshop, we celebrated with peach fizzy (non-alcoholic) drinks and gluten-free wafers in her dorm room at the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference. It was a blast.
Devon and I worked a ten-hour shift to close at her family’s coffee and ice cream shop. We felt like zombies, so when she suggested going to see the 10:30 showing of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I said why not (even though I can’t stand zombie movies). She is the only person who holds this kind of suggestive power over me. Believe it or not, I enjoyed it. Maybe because I was with Devon. Maybe because it still starred Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, howbeit zombie-fighting ninjas (essentially).
Friends. They add the spice, spontaneity, and often stability needed in our crazy worlds. And I am so thankful for the ones God has given me.
But sometimes, life is confusing. People we thought were our friends let us down. We get burned and don’t want to be vulnerable again.
So what does a good friend look like, and how can we be one to someone else?
I’m glad you asked. The Bible offers clear definitions for true friendship. Let’s look at four of them.
#1: A true friend makes you a better person.
As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. (Proverbs 27:17 NKJV)
Good friends will challenge you to pursue your passions, get more serious about your walk with God, and strengthen your character. They will call you out when you fall short or make a mistake but never give up on you.
#2: A true friend gives godly advice.
Ointment and perfume delight the heart,
And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel. (Proverbs 27:9 NKJV)
You’re facing a decision or dilemma. You don’t know what to do, and you need another perspective. A true friend is willing to listen first and then offer godly advice. The only way someone can do this is if they love God and His Word, the handbook for wisdom. A true friend will point you to God, not to the world, for the answers to life’s hard questions.
#3: A true friend tells the truth.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverbs 27:6 NKJV)
No one enjoys criticism, but a true friend won’t hold back the truth even when it hurts. If you’re making bad choices, a true friend will confront you about it. You may not want to hear what he has to say, but a true friend will say it anyway. If a friend only tells you what you want to hear, chances are, he’s not a true friend.
#4: A true friend loves you regardless.
A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17 NKJV)
Trouble is the test of a true friend. Which friends only hang around when you’re having a good time? Who sticks with you when a family member dies or you lose your job? Who offers you a ride when your car breaks down or helps you study for algebra after you fail a quiz? Yes, that’s a true friend.
Be a true friend
No friend is perfect, and we aren’t always there for our friends when we should be. We make mistakes. Mess up. Say things we shouldn’t.
But true friends give each other second chances.
If you’re blessed with godly friends (and I hope you are), don’t take them for granted. Love on them. Tell and show them how much they mean to you.
Maybe it’s surprising them with a bouquet of flowers or a card. Or better yet, coffee.
Maybe it’s going to watch Pride and Prejudice and Zombies at the 10:30 showing.
Whatever quirkiness defines your friendship, in all seriousness, be the kind of friend worth having.