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Feature Article: How to Choose and Be a True Friend for Life

Suzanne Recommends:

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.

  1. 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?

  2. 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."

  1. 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

  • Remember true friends are faithful and dependable. We can count on them, especially in times of trouble.

  • True friends give and build you up, not tear you down.

  • 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.

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 suzanne@suzannemartinez.com. 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 suzanne@suzannemartinez.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.

You may copy, forward or distribute this e-zine if this copyright notice and contact information for Suzanne Martinez is included.

 

Suzanne Martinez
SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC
P.O. Box 9172
Reston, VA 20195-9172
703.282.2325
suzanne@suzannemartinez.com
www.suzannemartinez.com


Copyright ©SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC, 2006-2008.


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Leadership & Relationship Tips
March 2008
Vol. I, Issue 25


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Would you Like to Purchase Recent Garden Club Messages?

Developing Patience through Your Difficulties (April 2007)

Celebrating the Goodness of God in your Life (May 2007)

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety (June 2007)

Finding Rest for Your Soul (July 2007)

Conquering Bitterness through the Power of Forgiveness (August 2007)

Resolving Conflict and Healing Patterns from the Past (September 2007)

Pink & Blue: Secrets to Translating Male/Female Communication to Achieve Meaningful Love and Work

Depending on God to Live Victoriously Despite our Circumstances (November 2007)

Persevering Prayer that Leads to Hope and a Victorious Life (December 2007)

Mastering and Sustaining Personal Change (January 2008)

If you'd like to purchase the package of Garden Club CDs for yourself or as a gift for a friend, you may do so by clicking on the following link - Garden Club Album. I hope you'll be inspired by these!


Upcoming Garden Club Teleseminars

Interested in joining the Inspirational Women's Garden Club?

It's a monthly get-together via telephone of women to network, build relationships with one another, and to discuss the Relationship Tips monthly topic.

Our next Inspirational Women's Garden Club event, is Mon, March 24, 7 pm EST.

Our topic will be How to Choose and Be a True Friend for Life.

Just email me at Suzanne's office for more information and for the information needed to participate!

If you'd like more information about the Garden Club or to enroll, please go to Inspirational Women's Garden Club. You may hear a sample audio class at FREE Gift and FREE Handout. Hope you'll join us on March 24 at 7 pm EST!


Becoming a Woman of Godly Character

Our words reflect our hearts and character. In the CD, "Becoming a Woman of Godly Character," Suzanne provides answers to common questions women ask and encourages you in your walk with Christ.

She'll also teach you qualities of a godly woman and the process whereby God changes you throughout your life to make you more like Christ.

Click here to order your copy...

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

In this four-week study guide, Suzanne leads you to simple, but powerful, tools to reverse the effects of the curse and transform your relationships in amazing ways.

As you learn and incorporate these three simple "power tools" into your relationships, you'll find you rediscover joy and fulfillment in your relationships in a new and fresh way.

Click here to order your copy!

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships


Inspiring Devotionals

Has your relationship with Christ lost its fervor? Have you gotten caught up in the stresses of life? Is your time with the Lord placed on the back burner?

These two devotionals will help renew your focus on Christ, gain strength for the trials you face, and enable you to give praise to God amidst whatever difficulties you encounter.

For a sample of Joy and Strength, see the ending paragraphs of "How to Choose and Be a True Friend for Life" at the left.

Devotionals

Shop here to obtain your copy.


About Suzanne

Suzanne France Martinez
Founder & Principal

During the last 20 years as Suzanne served in the marketplace and in ministry, she learned to excel amidst the pressing demands and challenges of leadership in each setting.

Suzanne's passion is to help leaders develop healthy leadership and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.

Suzanne desires to help leaders renew and refresh their vision, attain new levels of leadership excellence, and build healthy and strong leadership organizations.


Copyright © 2006-2008 SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC.