Monday, October 22, 2012

Part 2 of The Friendship Series: Choose Your Friends Wisely

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Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:13 KJV

Imagine that you and a friend or family member have been captured. Your captors then tell you to renounce your Christian faith or they will kill the person with you. What would you do?

This question was posed in my Sunday school class. Several members voiced their opinions. My opinion was I hope whoever is with me is a Christian. I thought about my circle, and they are Christian. The next circle out is Christian, and so is my nuclear family, but some of my extended family are not Christians. And even with them, I would not renounce my Christianity.

And that made me think about the company we keep, and are we choosing correctly.  The book of Proverbs is full of verses about choosing friends. It tells you who to avoid, and what to look for in each person.

I've discussed what type of friend you should be earlier. But Proverbs covers a lot more.

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27: 17(NKJV)

We've heard a lot about good kids who were led astray by the bad company they kept. Most parents admonish their children to make friends who have purpose, and Proverbs 27:17 backs that up. It reminds me of the parable about the ten virgins, which can be found in Matthews 25 or read here. Five were smart and five were foolish. There were times when I did not hang with the smart crowd, and thankfully for me, we never did anything outrageous or criminal.

If your friends are grounded in God's word, and uses godly wisdom in all that they do, then you've got a great bunch of friends. But if not, then maybe you need to make some changes.

Proverbs 11:14 states, "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." If you don't surround yourself correctly, you can find youself in a lot of trouble.

I am not saying to drop your friends. I am saying use discretion. And be the shining light to help guide them to Christ or lead a more godly life.

Proverbs 13:20 warns of what will happen if you choose unwisely: "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm."

He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends. Proverbs 17: 9

You need a forgiving friend and to be a forgiving friend, but we should avoid those who are always contentious and full of strife. I thought it was okay when a friend always challenged whatever I said, and we would have both minor and heated arguments. But it is very tiring, and after some time, I lessened the time I was around the person. We both grew in the Lord, and though we don't spend heaps of time together, we are still on speaking terms.

 (©Amanda McRae, nabbed from Pinterest)

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18: 24 NIV

While many have been blessed with this type of friend (the ones who stick closer than a brother) right off the bat, this can also be achieved even both sides work on the friendship.

I know a lot of people. But I only call a few of them friends. I truly believe if you have one or two good friends, you have been blessed. But that could just be me because that's what I have. I have a lot of acquaintances (and we have good times with one another whether at work or church or whatever but my friends are like family). Since both sides have not made the time to grow our friendship, then we haven't elevated to a friendship.

I highly suggest going through Proverbs to learn more about what a friend should be. But what to avoid?

A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. Proverbs 16: 28

Make no friendships with a man given to anger, and with a wrathful man do not associate. Proverbs 22: 24

Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 1 Corinthians 15: 33 NKJV

If you've never been around an angry person, it's a very noxious situation. You never know when they are going to go off, and you will do anything to placate their anger. You can be understanding and forgiving, but sometimes it's best to avoid them completely or only be around them for little bits of time.

Gossipers. Lots of us do like gossip, but it, too, is destructive. And it can destroy friendships. One thing I learned about gossips, if they are telling you about someone else, they will definitely tell someone else about you!

While the vast majority of us avoid evil people, if you find yourself drawn to them and you profess to be a follower of Christ, then you need to rethink the friendship. Someone always causing strife or causing trouble or think nothing of stealing or hurting another is not someone to admire.

What verses do you use in choosing friends?

Stay Encouraged and Be Blessed!

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