The Bible teaches that there are three essential qualities that should be cultivated in order to become a better friend: faithfulness, candidness, and encouragement.
Be Faithful: A biblical friend is a person who—no matter how bad things get—will be there for you (Proverbs 18:24). When crisis strikes, he’s right by your side. Lots of people show up when you have a party, but who comes when there’s a tragedy in the family or you’re short on cash? The Holy Spirit wants to cultivate this quality in you (Galatians 5:22-23).
Be Candid: A truly good friend is so committed to you that he is willing to tell you the truth, even though it may strain your friendship. To refrain from lovingly rebuking one in need of correction is to position yourself as his enemy, because you have withheld that which is ultimately in his best interest (Proverbs 27:5-6). You are setting him up for failure. With whom do you need to have a conversation? If you fail to speak, what may be the consequences?
Be Encouraging: According to Proverbs 27:9, “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.”
An example of this type of encouragement is found in 1 Samuel 23. David and Jonathan were good friends through victory (when David killed Goliath) and difficulty (when Jonathan’s father, King Saul, wanted to kill David). Jonathan’s encouragement when David was at a low point wasn’t just an emotional pep talk; Jonathan helped him find strength in God. If we leave God out of the picture, life does look bleak. But with God anything is possible.
Be Tactful: A good friend is concerned about his friend’s feelings. He is careful with his words. He speaks the truth, but he does so in love. He speaks out of a loving motive and in a loving manner (Proverbs 15:2). Tact has many faces, such as not overstaying your welcome when visiting a friend (Proverbs 25:17). A tactful person is sensitive to being hearty and overly enthusiastic at the wrong time (Proverbs 27:14). A tactful person matches their response to the situation (Proverbs 25:20; Ecclesiastes 3:4, 7). We need to be careful not to make jokes at our friend’s expense (Proverbs 26:18–19).
Here is a wonderful picture of friendship. Jonathan was faithful. He was there when the chips were down. He was candid and encouraging, giving David the strength he needed to carry on. Are you that kind of a friend? Are you faithful…candid….encouraging… tactful? Church family, let’s focus on being a friend, not just finding one. Let’s cultivate these qualities of friendship in our own lives, beginning this week.
Application / Challenge
- Be a good friend: be faithful, be candid, be encouraging, and be tactful