This article is lovingly dedicated to my friends. Thank you for being there for me, especially these last couple of years! You have listened to my fears, hugged me as I cried, prayed for me, and been there for me at a moment’s notice. You have taught me by your examples how to be a friend, and you have loved me, despite me. I love you guys!!
Pacing the busy church foyer, my 13-year-old self tried to muster up courage.
Realizing I just needed to take the plunge, I walked towards the girl. She had perfect blonde hair that flowed past her shoulders. Her dress was a beautiful flower pattern, with puffs and ruffles in all the right places. Looking into her questioning, blue eyes, I nearly lost my resolve.
“Um…I just wanted to know….what do I have to do to be your guy’s friend. I mean….do I need to change the way I dress or do my hair? I just really want to be your friend!”
Smiling at me, the girl gently placed her hand on my arm.
“You don’t need to change. Just give it some more time. It will get better, I promise!”
Little did I know then, that 26 years later, that very girl would be one of my dearest and closest friends!
I am in no way an expert on friendship, but I am very blessed by the many friends God has given me. Some friends go way back and others are newer, but they all are very dear to my heart.
Making friends is not something that has ever been easy for me. Approaching people I don’t know will make me break out in cold a sweat. I say stupid things, and most of the time, come across as very awkward! My husband tells me that I start to laugh in a high pitched voice, and even talk faster than normal, when I am talking to someone I don’t know. For me, making new friendships has required a lot of work, and, as my dear friend said to me so many years ago, patience.
Maybe you are in a church or a community where you find it difficult to make friends. Before you blame the church members, or even your neighbors, make sure you are following Biblical principles when trying to develop new friendships.
You mean, the Bible says something about making friends?
Yes. In fact, there are several examples of friendships in the Bible. David and Jonathan, Moses and Arron, Paul and Barnabas, and Jesus and His disciples are just a few friendships we can read about in the Bible.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD FRIEND
A Common Bond in Jesus Christ – While a Christian should be friendly to the unsaved world, he shouldn’t be best friends with them. The Bible reminds us in James 4:4 – “whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” Don’t forget, that you can’t serve the world and Jesus. An unsaved individual is going to live like the world and is going to do worldly things. Luke 16:13 – “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Be the First to Reach Out – To have friends, the Bible teaches that you have to take action. You have to be the one that reaches out first. If you are standing in the corner by yourself, hoping to be flocked by a group of new friends, you are going to be sadly disappointed! It doesn’t mean the church is unfriendly, it means the church is busy serving. Maybe they are as afraid of you as you are of them. Put a smile on your face, get out of your corner, and reach out to others! Get involved in the church, and be patient. It takes time to make friends! Proverbs 18:24 – “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Forgive – Weather you are offended because someone isn’t friendly enough, or your closest and dearest friend has just stabbed you in the back (yes, I know that was extreme), you need to forgive. Ephesians 4:32b – “…forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” True friendship won’t seek revenge or hold a grudge. Proverbs 24:29 – “Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.”
Be Generous – The best way to make a new friend is to be generous. Inviting someone over to your home for a delicious meal is a wonderful first step in getting to know someone! Meeting for coffee and dessert is another excellent way to form a friendship. If you doubt this, just look to Jesus’ example. He invited Himself over to Zacchaeus’s house for dinner! Luke 19:5 – “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.” If you have a friend in need, and you feel the Holy Spirit moving you to help, you better obey! Not only does true friendship give when there is a need, but you will be rewarded for your generosity! Proverbs 3:28 – “Do not say unto thy neighbor, go, and come again, and to morrow I will give when thou hast it by thee.”
Watch Your Tongue – That old saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” applies right here. Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” The worst thing a group of friends can do when they get together is gossip about other people. In fact, if you have friends that sit around and gossip about your pastor’s wife, MAKE NEW FRIENDS. Seriously, do I need to remind you about Miriam? Numbers 12:1 – “And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married”. Miriam got her tongue wagging out there in that wilderness against Moses’ wife, and God called her out for it! “And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them…and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow…And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days.” If you have tried to make friends and have found yourself still sitting in the corner alone, you need to examine your tongue. What are you talking about when you are around other people? Are your words pleasant? Do they edify others in the Lord? Proverbs 15:2 – “The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.” Just because you have knowledge about someone else, doesn’t mean you should pour it all out for everyone to hear. A true friend will speak pleasant words about everyone! Proverbs 16:28 – “A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.”
Be Faithful – If you want to know who your friends are, look to see who is still standing after a storm. Trials and difficult situations can often “weed out” friends. Don’t desert your friend in their time of greatest need. If you don’t understand what they are going through, you can still be there for them by telling them you are praying for them and that you love them! Bring them a meal, send them a card, send them a text, or meet them for coffee! Lend your ear, and if you are asked to share your opinion, do so with meekness. Proverbs 17:17b – “A friend loveth at all times”. Proverbs 27:10 – “Thine own friend, and they fathers’ friend, forsake not.”
Have Some Character – A true friend will bring out the best in you. When you leave their conversation, you will be strengthened in your own Christian walk. Romans 14:19 – “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
Be Truthful – Truthfulness is a hard quality to find in a friend. Often, one will tell a “little white lie” in order to avoid hurting a friend. But the Bible tells us a good friend will tell the truth, even if it hurts. Proverbs 27:6 – “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” A true friend will gently share the truth, weather it is desirable to hear or not. It does not always have to be painful, however. If done in the right spirit, it can be a blessing! Proverbs 27:9 – “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart; so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by heart council.”
If you are desiring to have more friends, or have found yourself in a place that seems unfriendly, be sure you are applying Biblical principles to your efforts. At the end of the day, remember, you have a Friend Who will never leave you! Just look to how Jesus treated His friends. He fed them, laughed with them, healed them, taught them, ate with them, and He even washed their feet! How does Jesus treat you? Jesus is our best example of what makes a good friend!
John 15:15 – “Jesus said, I have called you friends.”