One of the most important choices we’ll ever make is our friends. Most of the time we don’t set out to make friends; often friendships simply develop naturally as we spend time with people who enjoy some of the same things we do.
What principles in choosing friends do we find in the following verses? Prov. 12:26; Prov. 17:17; Prov. 18:24; Prov. 22:24-25.
Proverbs 18:24 says that if we want to have friends we must be friendly. Sometimes people find themselves alone, but their morose, negative attitude is what drives others away. “Even the best of us have these unlovely traits; and in selecting friends we should choose those who will not be driven away from us when they learn that we are not perfect. Mutual forbearance is called for. We should love and respect one another notwithstanding the faults and imperfections that we cannot help seeing; for this is the Spirit of Christ. Humility and self-distrust should be cultivated, and a patient tenderness with the faults of others. This will kill out all narrowing selfishness and make us large-hearted and generous”. – Ellen G. White, Pastoral Ministry, p. 95.
One of the best-known stories of friendship is that between David and Jonathan. Had Saul, Israel’s first king and Jonathan’s father, been faithful and obedient, his kingdom might have lasted for several generations, and Jonathan could have been the successor to his throne. When Saul proved unworthy of his call, God chose David as the new king of Israel, thus disqualifying Jonathan for what otherwise should have been rightfully his. Here we have a powerful example of how the wrong choices of one family member (Saul) impacted another family member (Jonathan).
But Jonathan was not angry or jealous of David. Instead, he chose to help David by protecting him from the anger of his own father, Saul. “The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (1 Sam. 18:1, NKJV). What a powerful example of true friendship.
|“Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Cor. 15:33, NKJV). What has been your own experience with friends, even those who might have meant you no harm but who ended up harming you anyway? How can wrong choices in friendships hurt family relationships?|