In this Issue
Feature Article: How to Choose and Be a True Friend for Life
Inspirational Women's Garden Club, Mar 24, 7 pm EST
- How to Choose and Be a True Friend for Life, Mon, Mar 24, 7 pm EST
How to Choose and Be a True Friend for Life
My husband and I watched an inspiring movie this weekend called "The Ultimate Gift." In the movie, a very privileged young man received a series of "gifts" from his grandfather, who had just passed. These "gifts" were to be accomplished and received prior to the grandson receiving his ultimate inheritance from his wealthy grandfather.
There were a series of gifts (I won't share them all and spoil the movie for you!) but one of the gifts was that of true friends. The young man found that all of those he considered "friends" had only used him for his wealth and the opportunities his privilege afforded them.
If you were asked to pass the test of this "gift," how many true friends would you be able to count? Let's look at what the Bible teaches us about the characteristics of true friends. You'll be able to then determine if you have this precious gift, and if you are this gift to others.
True friends are faithful and dependable. We can count on them, especially in times of trouble.
Proverbs 17:17 teaches us that "a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." And Prov. 27:6 adds, "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." You see that in the midst of difficulty, your friends may tell you hard truths, but you can trust them, while your enemies will flatter and deceive you through "multiple kisses."
You'll find your truest friends to be "there" for you in the midst of difficulty, and those friends are ones to be treasured. Do you have these types of friends?
True friends give and build you up, not tear you down.
In many relationships today, we see a competitive spirit and power plays - where one person is trying to "one-up" the other, showing that they are doing better than the other in some way. Yet a true friend "rejoices when we rejoice, and mourns when we mourn," according to Romans 12:15. They also help us be the best we can be, and Proverbs again uses the analogy of "iron sharpening iron" in chapter 27 verse 17 to show how true friends can serve one another in this way.
A true friend will give to the relationship as well, and not just take. The young man in the movie found that there were plenty of people who were willing to take from him, yet when his privilege and money temporarily dried up, these "friends" were nowhere to be found. Proverbs 19:4 warns of this, "Wealth brings many friends, but a poor man's friend deserts him."
Gossip is a way of tearing down friendships, and Proverbs 17:9 warns us of this: "He (or she)who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends."
- A true friend believes the best of you, not jumping to the worst conclusions. This person will give grace in the midst of a misunderstanding.
So often, you find that in conflict, you see on what foundation a relationship is truly based. Conflict has a way of forcing agendas to the surface, and people are seen for who they are. These conflicts, while painful, can help you make wise choices about your friendships.
Proverbs 4:23 admonishes you to "guard your heart," and it is wise to choose those who are godly and are dependable for your closest friends. Jesus, for instance, had Mary, Martha and Lazarus for his dearest friends, although he ministered to the thousands and discipled the many. Even amidst the disciples, he spent extra time one-on-one with Peter, James and John, training them in special ways to be leaders within the to-be-birthed church.
You'll be called to be "salt and light" to many, yet it's not wise to choose these individuals to be your closest friends. For what fellowship does light have with darkness? 2 Corinthians 14-15 teaches us - "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? ...what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? This admonition comes from the understanding that we become like those to whom we are closest. As we follow Jesus' model, we'll choose godly friends who energize us, build us up, believe the best about us and give us grace and understanding.
Perhaps you've felt grateful as you read this article that you have such true friends. Or you may be sad to realize that those you countest as your closest friends really are not. Whatever the case, let's review the keys to victory in discerning and choosing "true" friends for life.
Keys to Victory along the Journey
Joy and Strength has some words of wisdom about what type of friend you and I should be from June 20:
"Be kindly affectioned toward one to another with brotherly love (Rom. 12:10)
Love one another in spite of your differences, in spite of your faults. Love one another, and make the best of one another, as He loved us, who, for the sake of saving what was good in the human soul, forgot, forgave, put out of sight what was bad - who saw and loved what was good even in the publican Zaccheus, even in the penitent Magdalen, even in the expiring malefactor, even in the heretical Samaritan, even in the Pharisee Nicodemus, even in the heathen soldier, even in the outcast Canaanite.
It is very easy to fix our attention only on the weak points of those around us, to magnify them, to irritate them, to aggravate them; and, by so doing, we can make the burden of life unendurable, and can destroy our own and others' happiness and usefulness wherever we go. But this was not the love wherewith Christ loved us; this is not the new love wherewith we are to love one another.
(Arthur P. Stanley)
If you would like to hear more topics like these, please join us for the March "Inspirational Women's Garden Club" event on Monday, March 24, at 7 p.m. EST. For more information, contact Suzanne at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to have you join us and bring a friend, too!
March Coaching Special
With enrollment this month in the Inspirational Women's Garden Club, you’ll receive a complimentary 30-minute personal or church coaching consult. Just contact my office at email@example.com. I'd love to help you.
Please let me know what issues you would like to hear about in the next newsletter. I'll do my best to address your concerns! I look forward to speaking with you all next month.
Many prayers and blessings to you all,
Leadership Tips and Relationship Tips are monthly e-zines written and published by Suzanne Martinez, founder of SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC. Our purpose is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.
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