It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend his faults. So to love a man that you cannot bear to see a stain upon him, and to speak painful truth through loving words, that is friendship.
Let those be thy choicest companions who have made Christ their chief companion.
Satan can use your nonChristian friends in [many] ways to get to you. God wants you to rub off on them, but the Enemy wants them to rub off on you. So remember: You can have friends outside the faith, but for your deepest comrades you should look to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Hang out with the holy. Get in with the godly. Spend time with the saved. Know who your real family is – the one where the Father is God.
Today friendship has fallen on hard times. Few men have good friends, much less deep friendships. Individualism, autonomy, privatization, and isolation are culturally cachet, but deep, devoted, vulnerable friendship is not. This is a great tragedy for self, family, and the Church, because it is in relationships that we develop into what God wants us to be… Friendships…are there to be made if we value them as we ought – and if we practice some simple disciplines of friendship.
It is the best and truest friend who honestly tells us the truth about ourselves even when he knows we shall not like it. False friends are the ones who hide such truth from us and do so in order to remain in our favor.
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival.
Not everyone is a candidate to be a friend:
1. “Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them, for their minds devise violence and their lips talk of trouble” (Prov.24:1-2).
2. “A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends” (Prov. 16:28).
3. “Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge” (Prov. 14:7).
4. “He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets; therefore, do not associate with a gossip” (Prov. 20:19).
5. “Do not associate with a man given to anger, or go with a hot-tempered man; lest you learn his ways, and find a snare for yourself” (Prov. 22:24-25).
6. “Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine or with gluttonous eaters of meat” (Prov. 23:20).
7. “Do not associate with those who are given to change, for their calamity will rise suddenly and who knows the ruin that comes from them” (Prov. 24:21-22).
Truths about Friendship – From the life of Paul [in 2 Timothy 4]:
1. Paul believed in the critical importance of having close friends – verses 9, 21a.
2. Paul knew from personal experience the pain and anguish of loneliness – verses 10b, 11a, 16a.
3. Paul knew the importance of having the right kind of friends: be discerning and selective – verses 14-15.
4. Paul knew from personal experience the pain of betrayal and abandonment – verses 10a, 16.
5. Paul had learned the importance of forgiving those who had failed him. In fact, he believed in giving old friends who had blown it another chance – verses 11b, 16b.
6. As you grow old in life, in addition to friends, you need books! – verse 13.
7. In the final analysis, when everything is said and done, Jesus will always be your best friend; the only friend you can always count on – verses 17-18.