The Character of a True Friend
by Madeline and Abigail Mann - September 5, 2019
We all have friends, but how good are our friendships? Are we developing the kind of friendships that will last a lifetime? What kind of character do we need to be true friends?
True friendship is hard to find these days. Many friendships today are very superficial, and “friend” can mean many different things, from a person you’re connected with on Facebook to an acquaintance.
But are we forming real friendships based on deep relationships? Developing a truly deep friendship is the responsibility of both the people taking part in that friendship. How can you be a true friend?
When you’re looking for a true friend, there should be a few words that you think of: trust, loyalty, love and reliability. It’s important to consider if you are both compatible in these qualities. A true friend should be a genuine person who will go through the aches of life with you and not feel burdened or walk away from you. A true friend should be steadfast and honest.
Let’s take a closer look at how to become that kind of friend.
The loyalty of a friend
One of the best models of a true friend in the Bible is Ruth. We can learn many things about being a true friend from her.
In Ruth 1:16 she shows devotion to Naomi. Even though Naomi was her mother-in-law, the relationship between them was one that teaches us many things about friendship. When Ruth had the opportunity to leave Naomi’s side forever, she said: “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (English Standard Version).
Ruth was willing to stay with Naomi through the worst times. She was loyal and steadfast. Is this the kind of friend we are?
Another element of building a strong friendship is learning to practice good communication. It is something we all have to work on constantly. Sometimes our emotions can prevent us from communicating with our friends in a right way. We have to learn to be open and honest with our friends, but in a kind and considerate way (Ephesians 4:15).
Communication is very important to God. God wants His people to fellowship with each other and form friendships. One of the purposes of fellowship is to help us “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
We grow by conversing about God’s Word with our brothers and sisters in the faith. This helps us grow closer together as a family. Having true friends in the faith can help us grow because we can encourage and sharpen each other (Proverbs 27:17).
A true friend will let us know when we are behaving or thinking wrong. Out of love, he or she will help us get back on the right track. A good example of this is when Paul had to point out to Peter that he was doing something wrong (Galatians 1:11-14). But they remained brothers in the faith, and Peter grew because of it (2 Peter 3:15).
True friends put others before themselves. When both friends do this, the friendship grows and becomes stronger. This kind of friendship helps us grow in righteous character.
Are you being a good friend?
To learn more, read “Your Best Friend.”