Are You A Friend?

What are some traits that you look for in friends? What are the qualities of a good friend? Trustworthy, love, courage, generous, understanding? These are all great qualities to look for in a friend. But in order to have good friends, you have to be a good friend. Are you a friend?

Trustworthy and Does Not Reveal Secrets
(Prov. 11:13; 20:19)

Do people trust you? Do they tell you their secrets? Secrets that make them vulnerable to you! What do you do with their secrets ... secrets with which you could hurt them? You need to hold your tongue and zip your lips.

If you tell A's secrets to B then B would find it hard to trust you with his secrets. B may be thinking ... "Since you told me about A's secrets, you could be telling somebody else my secrets. Yikes!" Then should A find out that you had broken confidence then don't expect any more opening of his heart to you - end of story(telling), worst would be end of friendship.

Loves Others & Does Not Reveal Their Faults & Mistakes
(Prov. 10:12; 11:12; 16:28; 17:9)

If you love someone, you seek to protect. First of all, you do not reveal his faults and mistakes to others (Prov. 17:9).

Secondly, when the mistakes are brought to the open, you may even offer an explanation (if appropriate), "That's not his usual self, something may be troubling him" or "He was really frustrated by the situation and that may be the reason for his outburst." You seek to promote understanding and forgiveness.

Loves At All Times and Stands by Others
(Prov. 17:17; 18:24; 27:5-6)

Do you abandon your friends to their trials, follies or sins? Or would you stand by them to comfort, encourage and even rebuke (if necessary)?

Rebuking or comforting other calls for

  • awareness of one's own frailty (cf Matt. 7:4-5),

  • courage to warn another of the dire consequences of bad choices (cf Jas. 5:19-20) and

  • sensitivity to choose the right words, time and place (cf Prov. 15:23; 25:11,20).
A friend is someone who is willing to risk the friendship for their sake and welfare (cf Prov. 9:7-12).

What if the rebuke is rejected? Simply back off and allow matters to take their natural course. In other words, let consequences be the teacher.

(Prov. 19:4,6; 14:20)

Do you want to have many friends? Learn to give gifts. Be generous with your friends ... let your gifts be an expression of your love. We are not talking about "buying" friendship (cf Prov. 18:16) but about reality ... "Who does not like to be around someone who is generous?" More than generousity, however, we like to be with someone who is sincerely generous (cf Prov. 23:6-8).

But you who are giving gifts, take note that an enduring friendship is worth more than many superficial friendships (Prov. 18:24). You do not want "friends" who are around only when you have gifts for them.

Does Not Impose Upon Others
(Prov. 25:17).

Your friends do not belong to you. Do not seek to control them. They have the right to their own time, space and solitude. It is possible that your desire for closeness may actually drive both of you apart. Give them the freedom to develop other friendships.

Likewise, you should make new friends. Recognise that your happiness and fulfillment do not rest with any one person.

© 2003, Alan S.L. Wong