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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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.