What makes a friend good? We all know a bad friend when we live through it. A bad friend is someone who stabs you in the back, abandons you in tough times, and takes advantage of you. A friend is supposed to be someone you can trust in, depend on, and confide in. A friend is someone who knows everything about you and still likes you. You can be yourself with a true friend. They have your back and love you through anything. The term “friend” has been used very loosely in recent times with the creation of social media outlets like Facebook. You can “friend” and even “unfriend” people with the click of a button. This digital friendship can keep true friends better connected but mostly provides a shallow, vague, and illusive form of friendship. After all, can you really be true friends with hundreds of people you never really talk to, see, or know? I do, however, really enjoy Facebook but consider it way less than 1% of what makes a good friendship.
An old proverb I once heard really defines friendship: “Prosperity makes friends but adversity proves them.” The proverbs in the Bible echo this. One of my favorite proverbs about friendship comes from Proverbs 18:24. “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” A true friend sticks close at all times – especially the bad times. It’s easy to be a friend in good times but the true test of friendship is when life gets rough and tough. Proverbs 17:17 says a friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity. “Born for adversity” doesn’t sound very fun. Adversity? I thought I signed up for the “easy going, no strings attached, what’s in it for me” friendship? Since we all face adverse times and it’s imperative we find friends to go through them with. A friend also speaks truth to you at all times – even when you don’t want to hear it. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiples kisses.” Ever heard the statement, “the truth hurts”? A real friend can tell you the hard truth and even though it stings you know they are right. They can step on your toes and not mess up the shine on your shoes. Friends show they care by being honest because truth brings life. Their words may be tough to swallow but you know in the long run what they say can be trusted and must be applied.
Of course the best friend anyone can have is Jesus. The song “What a friend we have in Jesus” is one I’ve loved since I was a child. He is one that will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:5). Jesus said in John 15:15, “No longer do I call you servants…but I have called you friends…” Abraham was a friend of God (James 2:23) and so are we who trust in Him as Savior! What a fantastic and incomprehensible thought that Jesus desires to be our friend! He also forgives our sins. Luke 5:20 tells us, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friends your sins are forgiven.’” A true friend forgives. D.L. Moody said, “A rule I have had for years is to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. He is not just a creed or a mere doctrine to have but it is He Himself we have.” Jesus is the most loyal, the best listener, a true lover, the ultimate forgiver, and one that desires us to live to our fullest potential. He demonstrated the truest of friendships and relationships by giving His life for us on the cross while we rejected Him (Romans 5:8). It was us who crucified Him and He paid the ultimate price by dying for our sins (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Hebrews 2:9). What a friend I’ve found in Jesus! Is He yours? Give your life to Christ and know Him as well as friend and savior today.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.