How Does a True Friendship Look Like?

The Bible is God’s love letter to us in which it talks about His faithful and great love for us. It is also a manual filled with wisdom and instructions for us for our daily living.

The Bible talks about the relationship God has with us, as well as our relationship with Him. It also talks about our relationship with others: our family, our employer, employee, co-workers, friends and enemies.

The Bible paints portraits of godly friendships in the Bible which makes us smile when reading about their deep love for each other. I think about David and Jonathan, Naomi and Ruth (though they are mother-and-daughter-in-law) Jesus and Martha, Mary and Lazarus.

True friends are hard to find. How does a true friendship look like?

1.True Friends Point us to God

True friends encourage us in our daily walk. I know my true friends are keepers because they risk our friendship to tell me what I needed to hear rather than what I wanted to hear. It hurts but that is how I can grow and be mature as a person and as a Christian (as a pastor, too!).
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiply kisses” (Proverbs 27:6, NIV)

2.True Friends Encourage your dreams

Have you ever met a friend over lunch and afterwards you feel so motivated, refreshed and inspired to tackle the world (may be the world is an overstatement…) or to tackle the challenges in your life? Or your friends open your eyes to see the world from a fresh new perspective. True friends are able to exchange meaningful conversations and also point us to the wonder and beauty of God and His creations.
True friends will not be ashamed to share about what God has done in each other’s lives. True friends will encourage your pursuit of your God-given dreams.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another…” (Proverbs 27:17, NIV)

3.True Friends Pray for Us

One of the best gifts our friends give us is prayer. They keep us close to their hearts by remembering us in their prayers and then they will follow up with us to see how we are progressing.
Carry each other’s burden, and in this way, you will fulfil the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

4.True Friends Are People with Character

The Bible makes it clear that we should choose our friends wisely.
“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26, NIV).

The friends that we choose to spend time with heavily impact our thought patterns and character. Choosing friends with godly character will make us more joyful because we are walking in the path that pleases God. Choose friends who love the Lord and who bear good fruits in their lives.

Because we live in a fallen world, we are all sinful people. True friends will forgive each other and move on. We don’t hold on to grudges or keep them in our hearts.

5.True Friends Chose to Love Us

There may come a period of time where we are going through some tough issues and we are not who we used to be. In this season, we may whine more than usual or become overly anxious or get into the self-pity mode. True friends will not leave us but they will listen to our whines, pray for us and encourage us. It may be just a phase but it will be clear who your true friends are. They stick with you through your ups and downs.
“A friend loves at all times…” (Proverbs 17:17)

Bonus tip: I enjoy it when my friends are also friendly with my parents. Since childhood, my parents know my friends by their names. Since then, I have many more wonderful people coming into my life. And my parents know them by name or at least have met them face to face. Now that I am an adult, it pleases my heart when my friends and my parents know each other and enjoy a meal together.

If you have not introduced your friends to your parents, perhaps you can try to arrange something simple and yet relaxing so that they can know one another and enjoy a wonderful time?

The Joys of Friendships

Recently, I watched on Netflix a movie called, “The Heat”. It is a cop-buddy comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.

I am a Sandra Bullock fan and would watch any movies with her in it. I would often replay them for at least a few times.

In this movie, Sandra Bullock played an FBI Special Agent, Sarah Ashburn. She was a workaholic who lived alone, an arrogant police and could not get along with anyone. Melissa McCarthy, on the other hand, played a foul-mouthed Boston police detective, Shannon Mullins. At the start of the movie, Sarah was sent to Boston to bring down a drug kingpin who happened to be followed up closely by Shannon. That was where she met Shannon, and Shannon had made it very clear that she did not like another person to interfere with her case. In order to be eligible for a promotion, Sarah agreed to her boss’ order that she worked together with Shannon to solve this case.

It was a rough start. Both of them bickered and quarreled but as days went by, they learned to watch out for each other and to appreciate each other.

In the end, as with most comedies, it was a happy ending. They cracked the case, Shannon received an award, welcomed Sarah into her family and called her a “sister” which was meaningful as Sarah did not have a family.

I laughed throughout the movie. I loved the natural and dynamic chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy! I loved their teamwork! I enjoyed watching them working together.

I took my phone and WhatsApp my buddy—my Shannon or Sarah, and told her about the movie.Just like Sarah and Shannon in the movie, we were the complete opposite of each other. We had different upbringing, different culture, raised in different cities, liked different things and we didn’t even speak the same dialect when we first met! Somehow, we gelled. We managed to make this friendship work. There were times when we irritated and annoyed each other to the maximum but we knew that whatever we were going through, we would be there for each other. The love of Christ is the foundation of our friendship.True friends are hard to find.

Below are three joys of having friends in our lives:

1. Friends help us to enjoy God

I am an introvert but I can testify that great friends are given by God. Ephesians 5:18-19 says, “Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart”. Some of the enjoyable moments in life are just having fun together in the Lord.

2. Friends keep us accountable

John Wesley had his covenantal group which held each member accountable. Every time when they met together, they would ask each other a set of questions and they had to be honest when answering them. The purpose of this was to keep each other holy.

Good friends watch over us with love and make sure we are on the right track. Friends speak the truth to us in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses”.

In my own life, friends speak into my life and give me rebukes when necessary so that I am living a life pleasing to God. The rebukes are painful but they help me to be a better person.

Good friends will love us enough to continue inspiring and encouraging us to grow as a person, as a citizen in this world and as a disciple of Christ.

3. Friends bring us before God in prayers

Life’s burdens and problems can weigh us down. They are heavy for us to carry them alone. Good friends will not only listen to us when we need listening ears, they will also pray for us. How wonderful to know that we are not alone in our struggles but that there are faithful friends who are bringing us before God in their intercessions.

I would love to hear from you: How had you been blessed by your friends? Leave a comment below!