Have you ever come across a situation that made you question someone’s friendship? Maybe their actions made them untrustworthy, or they said hurtful things that literally made your heart ache. The gift of friendship is a priceless commodity in life, but how do we know if we’re choosing our friends wisely? In the Bible, there are numerous verses that directly reference the qualities of true friendship. Let’s take a closer look at some of these characteristics.
Do They Always Have Your Back?
A true friend is someone who lends his/her strength when you need it. They are always there for you, and willing to listen and be supportive. When the everyday stresses in life become overwhelming, you’ll find strength in their words. They have the power to be your crutch when you feel you cannot stand alone.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls, and doesn’t have another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one keep warm alone? If a man prevails against one who is alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.—Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Are They Reliable and Helpful?
When you think about your relationships, are you comforted in knowing that they can be relied upon when you need them? Have you ever asked a person for help, and felt as though you were putting them out, or inconveniencing them? When you have a friend for life, you know that they are happy to lend a helping hand, and they enjoy being able to do so. Your true friends are those you can rely on throughout your entire life.
Many men claim to be men of unfailing love, but who can find a faithful man?—Proverbs 20:6
Can You Trust Them to Be Loyal?
What is the most important characteristic of a true friend? When asked this question, being trustworthy is typically the number one response. Trust and loyalty are the basic building blocks of any relationship. Without these qualities you’d have no foundation on which to build upon.
A man of many companions may be ruined, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.—Proverbs 18:24
Will They Make Sacrifices for You?
A true friend will put your needs before their own. They are not selfish with their time, and they are always willing to give you the shirt off their back. The Webster Dictionary states that the definition of sacrifice is: “the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.” Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice with his life. But even before his crucifixion, he lived a life filled with sacrifices and provided countless acts of pure love and unselfishness.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. —John 15:13
A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for adversity. —Proverbs 17:17
Are They a Positive Influence in Your Life?
You may have entered into a relationship with someone that’s exciting, fun and even a little reckless. But, in doing so, you may have missed the red flag warning to examine the potential negative impact they are having on your life. It is important to surround yourself with people who share your Christian beliefs, and your desire to live each day honoring God. In Scripture, we are warned against developing friendships with those who may influence us in a negative manner.
A righteous person is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. —Proverbs 12:26
Don’t befriend a hot-tempered man, and don’t associate with one who harbors anger: lest you learn his ways, and ensnare your soul.—Proverbs 22:24-25
True friendships are a blessing and they take time to build and strengthen. These relationships require ongoing efforts by both people, and dedication to one another. It is essential to choose your friends carefully, but it’s equally important to take a look in your own mirror. Make sure you living your life with meaning, and that you are demonstrating the qualities of how to be a good friend.