“Hey man, let’s go for a run,” my friend said over the phone.
“Don’t worry about it, let’s just run at your pace and enjoy ourselves.”
Who doesn’t appreciate friends like that?
I got a call from from one of my friends a couple of summers ago, “Hey come play a round of gold with us. I’ll pick you up.” They are scratch golfers. “You guys are way of my league.”
“Doesn’t matter,” he said. “We’ll play best ball and your approach shots are great.”
I’m blessed with good friends! So the question for me is how do I become the best possible friend to them. Jesus said, “A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17, NASB)
1. My friendship must be constant, whether present or absent. Rejoicing when someone speaks well of my friend and defending if someone speaks ill of my friend. As a friend I have to be available. Here I fail to often. Friends call just because you’re friends. I stick to a fairly rigid schedule because of my responsibilities. Friends stop and talk over the phone or a cup of coffee. I don’t just wait for them to call but I call as well just to say, “Hey, what’s up?” Networking is not friendship. Friends love and like one another. They share the same interests and enjoy just being together not for a contact, lead or influence, but just because they are friends.
2. Friends know one another. Over time wise friends know when to speak, when to be quiet, when to laugh and when to cry. They understand the temperament, feelings, and desires of their friend. And they respect that. If you rejoice I rejoice. If you are suffering I want to walk with you through that.
3. As a friend I have to be honest. They are not judgmental but they are able to discerning. Discernment is not negativity but the ability to understand and make a good decision knowing the difference between what God says is right or wrong. “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:6, NLT) If we are not willing to be honest with our friends it is because we love ourselves more than our friend. Once my wife read a book counseling tell a lie rather than the truth if the truth would hurt your friend. Rubbish! “To flatter friends is to lay a trap for their feet.” (Proverbs 29:5, NLT)
4. As a friend I have to be a cheerleader! I want to be an encouragement to my friends. “Iron sharpens iron.” (Proverbs 27:17) So let’s you and I pick up the phone and call a friend today just because they are a friend.
By the way tonight when you pray, be sure and give God thanks for the friends he has given you.