And sometimes our friends were entirely the opposite…
These friends turned against you. Became jealous of you and spoke against you. If you didn’t do what they liked or what they said, they might have spread lies about you behind your back. And the next thing you know, you’re not friends anymore…
I think of a true friend sticking by you. A true friend should never betray you. A true friend should listen when you have something to share. And a true friend should love you unconditionally.
What is the definition of a true friend? According to Wikipedia “Friendship is a form of interpersonal relationship generally considered to be closer than association, although there is a range of degrees of intimacy in both friendships and associations.” Value that is found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating the following on a consistent basis:
- The tendency to desire what is best for the other
- Sympathy and empathy
- Honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one’s counterpart
- Mutual understanding and compassion; ability to go to each other for emotional support
- Enjoyment of each other’s company
- Trust in one another
- Positive reciprocity — a relationship is based on equal give-and-take between the two parties.
- The ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings and make mistakes without fear of judgement.
Wikipedia’s definition is picture perfect! It’s great to have a friend like this. This is a perfect friend – in a perfect world! So what does the bible say about evil friends?
Here are 3 unfortunate issues that can happen:
• Slander - Jeremiah 9:4-5 says, “Everyone take heed to his neighbor, And do not trust any brother; For every brother will utterly supplant, And every neighbor will walk with slanderers. Everyone will deceive his neighbor, And will not speak the truth; They have taught their tongue to speak lies; They weary themselves to commit iniquity.”
Friends are human – therefore, we all sin. God is telling us in this scripture that we are not to be trusted by nature. Even if we don’t mean to slander or speak against our friends, it’s hard to not become jealous or envious of what they have. Jealously creates a lot of evil and evil turns into speaking evil against your friend.
• Betrayal – Lamentations 1:2 says, “Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are on her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is no one to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.”
It’s hard dealing with this feeling of being betrayed. This seems to be the hardest thing to get over at times. When you put all of your trust in some one else and they hurt you, or turn their back on you, sometimes it’s hard to trust again. Betrayal can be hard to bounce back from.
• Untrustworthy – Micah 7:5 says, “Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with the woman who lies in your embrace guard the words of your lips.”
As the saying goes,”don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” You can have friends, but you can’t put all of your trust into one human being. I’m pretty sure, we have all had friends who we shared our most intimate secrets with and the next thing you know, the whole neighborhood knows… untrustworthy!
What’s the good news?
The good news is that Jesus gives you a way out! Even though He knows we need each other and should depend on each other at times, no one can be the perfect person or friend that we need them to be – it’s impossible!
So what is true friendship? The Lord Jesus Christ gave us the definition of a true friend in John 15:13-15:
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
Jesus is the pure example of a true friend, for He laid down His life for His “friends.” What is more, anyone may become His friend by trusting in Him as his personal savior, being born again and receiving new life in Him.
I want a friend like that – a friend who loves me no matter what! How about you?
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