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Purity Girls
Purity 101

Let's Talk About Friends!

     Do you know what a friend is? It seems like kind of a silly question--I mean, we're not talking about rocket science or some type of obscure medical term. We all have friends, some of whom we may see every day.
     So, this should be an easy question: What is a friend?
     Is a friend someone who always smiles and is glad to see you? Someone in whom you can confide and who would never tell anyone your deepest secrets? Someone whose likes and dislikes are similar to your own? Someone who laughs and cries with you?
     Stop for a minute and think about your own friends and some of the reasons why you consider them friends. Then try to guess what your friends most admire about you. Does it seem a little complicated to list all of the possible reasons you and your friends are a good match?
     It's true--even though friends are so vital to our enjoyment of life, still it's difficult to list all of the exact ingredients that come together to form a friendship.
     Sometimes that ambiguity can really hurt us, like when someone that we thought was our friend does something that makes us feel hurt, used, or betrayed. We begin to question whether the person ever truly was our friend, or even if we have the ability to tell the difference between a phony and a real friend.
     Don't you wish there was a Friendship Manual? A complete guide to friendships could tell you everything from, "how to make friends," to, "how to tell if someone sincerely is your friend," along with a list of good and bad attributes to look for when making friends.
     What would you say if I told you that you already have that Friendship Manual?
     You guessed it--the Bible has all those answers and more! I was really amazed at how much information I found when I started studying what the Bible has to say about friendship. I also found some really fascinating stories about friends who were real lifesavers--or in some cases, life-enders! See if you recognize any of these characteristics from friends you've known:
     Samson had a back-stabbing friend who stole his wife (Judges 14:20), while the apostle Paul had some refreshing friends while he was a prisoner (Acts 27:3).
     Job's friends turned on him when God allowed Satan to remove all of Job's physical health and wealth. They came to see him but then sat around criticizing him for the secret sins they were sure he'd done to bring this kind of judgment on himself. Job listened to them for a while but finally accused them of being mean-spirited, pitiless friends (Job 6:14, 27).
     David had some very trustworthy friends in his lifetime. You may know about Jonathan, but have you heard about David's friend and advisor, Hushai?
     When David's own son, Absolom, turned against him and tried to take over David's kingdom, David had to run away from Jerusalem. One of his trusted advisors, Ahithophel, betrayed David, taking his son's

 

side. Fortunately, however, David's other advisor, Hushai, was a true friend who came to help David.
     When he saw Hushai, David concocted a brilliant but dangerous plan for Hushai to go back to Jerusalem. His job was to trick Absolom into following bad advice, so that David could win back his throne.
     Did David's plan work, or did Hushai lose his life trying to protect his friend, David? Find out by reading II Samuel 15:30-37 and 16:16-18:33.
     Do you know the story of Haman and Mordecai? If not, be sure to read the book of Esther! You see, Haman was a very proud man. So he chose the kind of friends that would always listen to him talk about himself and who would tell him only what he wanted to hear. They were very ungodly friends.
     So, when he got very angry with Mordecai the Jew, he told his friends all about it. He said, "This stupid Mordecai just doesn't show me the respect I deserve. He refuses to bow down to me, even though he is nothing in comparison with my greatness. He's ruining my entire life!"
     Haman's friends responded by advising him to pre-order a gallows to hang Mordecai, then go get the king's permission to have him killed (Esther 5:14). Haman followed his friend's wicked advice and, well, let's just say it came back to bite him.
     Also, there's the story of Amnon, the young man who fell deeply in love (or lust) with a beautiful girl. He couldn't eat, he couldn't sleep, all he could think about was Tamar. Unfortunately for him, she was his half-sister.
     Now, Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, and the Bible says that Jonadab was a very sneaky man. So, Jonadab came up with a plan for Amnon to get what he wanted--his own half-sister, Tamar.
     It's a sad story, because poor Tamar ended up being raped by her own half-brother, and Amnon ended up dead because of the advice of his sneaky friend and his own wicked, selfish act. You can find this story in II Samuel 13.
     Of course, Abraham had the best friend of all, because his friend was kind, giving, and powerful! 2 Chronicles 20:7 and James 2:23 tell us that Abraham was a friend of God!
     I hope you take time to research more about what the Bible has to say about friends. As these stories show, your friends can have a dramatic impact on your life.
     Usually, you become like the people that you allow to be your close friends, so their character, whether godly or ungodly, matters to you. The Bible shows us that having friends is invaluable--but even more important is the character of the friends you choose. So be sure to consult your "Friendship Manual" before adding new friends, and you'll end up with the kind of friends who will move you toward a truly successful life.

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