Please find below the teaching notes for the series, “Relationship” Pt. 3 Relationship and Friends. (c) 2012, Terry Broadwater. For personal use only. All other uses contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How many of you have Facebook? And all those people are your “friends” right? Me, I’ve got 2200 FB friends…. Most of whom I don’t really know! Or the TV Show, “Friends” then the show got canceled so what happened to them??
Today, I want to talk about what true friendship is supposed to be about. The question is: What makes a true friend? What does that relationship look like?
We need to lay some groundwork first: The idea or view for biblical, Christian friendship is taken from the doctrine of the Trinity- you see God in community and in communication in this context. The bible makes it clear God is Friend! God did not create us because he was lonely! Gen. 2:18 says God did not want US to be alone!
Definition of Friendship: Truthful and trusting peers with whom we choose to lovingly do life with, have unique access to, and desire to serve one another for God’s glory and our mutual good.
Some further clarification here: A true friend is… Someone you can trust. A peer at the same life stage. Someone you choose. Someone you share mutual love and goodness with. Someone you intentionally do life together with. Someone who always have access to your life. Someone you go above and beyond to serve. The relationship brings glory to/pleases God. Good comes from it.
Why we need to define Friendship: We don’t have true friends (Facebook doesn’t count!). We want to be a good friend and choose good friends!
The Book of Proverbs has a lot to say about friendship and choosing good friends! Maybe you have a “friend” in your life right now who is not being “good” to you. They really aren’t your friend at all; they are USING you. You may have to make a “Friend-Shift!” The relationship has changed and now it’s ambiguous, unclear. Maybe it’s a girlfriend who got married. A couple that just had a baby. They moved. They left the church. Life-shifts can cause a friend-shift! And you’re not communicating about it. Feelings get hurt. It’s painful but you must talk about it!
So, here’s what Proverbs teaches us about “Relationship as Friends”…
Prov. 13:20 “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”
- Everyone has friends, but they either help you or harm you!
- If you choose your friends wisely, you choose wise friends, friends with some street smarts.
- You will grow in wisdom because wisdom lives in people; they’ve become wise and smart because of their experiences, how they’ve lived life.
- Choose the wrong friends, foolish friends and you become more foolish!
- I didn’t always choose the wisest or smartest friends. I choose some foolish friends and it got me into trouble! How many of you know what I’m talking about?
Prov. 19:4, 6 “Wealth makes many friends; poverty drives them all away… Many seek favors from a ruler; everyone is the friend of a person who gives gifts.”
- If you’ve got money, lots of stuff, position or power, you probably don’t have many true friends; you have a lot of selfish people just using you to get things!
- You’ll always have grief with selfish friends because they’re so fake, but often you don’t realize it until it’s too late.
- If you are a generous and giving person, you’re going to have to learn to be wise and honest because some people will use you pretending to be your friend.
- The bottom line is, they’ll take advantage of you. As long as you’re handing out “gifts” they’re lining up to get them from you. As soon as you don’t give out the gifts or don’t have gifts to give, where are they? Gone!
- I’ve learned this the hard way because people want to be my “friend” because I have an influential position… but they only have a selfish motivation!
- If you’re single and you’re a generous person; be careful of the boy or girl who wants to be your “boyfriend” or “girlfriend!” It just may be that they’re just USING you!
Prov. 16:28 “A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.”
- Hey, if you’ve got these kinds of “friends” you may want to think about trading them in for some good friends!
- These people, those who cause strife, gossip, always dwelling on your faults, are plain and simple sinful!
- Don’t have them as a friend! (This is different than when the Bible says Jesus is the “sinner’s friend!). This is about you choosing to deeply associate with people who are not GOOD for you!
- Don’t pick a dishonest person as a friend! If all you see in their life is strife, contention, lies, make a better choice!
- Don’t pick a gossip as a friend! Remember, if they’re sharing gossip about someone else with you, they’re sharing gossip with someone else about you!
Prov. 17:9 “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends…
- But, if someone really is your friend, they will confront sin in love; but there will also be times when they give you a break instead of keeping on hammering you about something you did wrong.
- Regrettably, this happens way too often in marriages!!
- We are all going to fall short, make a mistake, mess up, but we need a friend not an interrogator- or we need to be the friend and not the interrogator!
- Sometime people just need a break- we get grumpy and we need a little grace.
Prov. 22:24-25 “Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.”
- A sinful choice in a friend is an angry, short-tempered, volcanic, hot-head!
- If you’re single girl, don’t date that guy!
- Guys, don’t go to the ballgame with that dude!
- People filled with anger don’t help you; they only harm you!
Prov. 25:17 “Don’t visit your neighbors too often or you will wear out your welcome.”
- “Clinging friends!” Do you have any of those? Hopefully, you’re not one! You know, you’ve got to wear the matching sweatshirt, always have to hang out for every “occasion”, they want a key to your house…
- They are the “What About Bob” friend! They don’t want to be a stranger, but they’re so strange!!
- They’re not evil or mean; they’re just way too much! You don’t want this person as a roommate! They’re, well, just strange!
- They text you twice, then email you to see if you got the text, and then call you to see if you got the email about the texts!!!
- They’re always demanding of your time, your life, and it’s weird and strange and it gets painful!
Prov. 25:19 “Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot.”
- The bottom line is that you simply can’t depend on “unsteady” friends! When you need them they’re nowhere to be found! They suddenly become a “stranger!”
- They’re like having a bad toothache or a bum leg; it’s painful because you just can’t rely on them for anything! They go from “friend” to “stranger” real fast!
- You need to choose be dependable and you need friends that are dependable; that you can rely on.
- A friend is someone you can depend on no matter what!
Prov. 25:20 “Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in winter or pouring vinegar in a wound.”
- Do you know that person, and it seems to always be a “church person”, that is always happy, cheerful, bubbly; that take Scripture way out of context, or they can never be serious, and they’re just strange???
- “Oh man, I got hit by a truck yesterday. It was awful!” “Oh you know what the good book says, ‘Praise the Lord in all circumstances!! Hee Hee!” WHAT???
- These people are okay to hang out with on a good day or if you just want to goof off, but on a bad day, you really don’t want them around- you want them to be a stranger!
- You’re hurt, struggling, and they just pour vinegar right on the wound with their insensitivity and inability to be serious. They’re just painful to you! They’ve got a strange way to show you they’re your friend!
- They may be fun to hang around with sometimes, but when you’ve got a problem they’re just going to joke about it or say something totally stupid!
Prov. 17:17 “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”
- Do you know what the true test is for true friendship? Your true friends are there when you need them the most! They’re the “steady Eddie!”
- Some of your best friendships were born out of crisis or a painful situation; or you were there for someone in their time of need. Life got real rocky and they or you were real steady!
- You’ll always know who your true friends are when tough times come and you’ll know whom you are truly a friend to when their tough time comes.
- Paul said, “You rejoice with those who rejoice and you mourn with those who mourn…” You feel the pain because there’s real devotion there!
Prov. 18:24 “A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (NASB)
- Just because you’re the life of the party doesn’t mean you’ve got tons of friends. You can be lonely in a crowd. You may have a lot of perceived friends; but there are a handful of people that will always very steadily stick close!
- In 25 years they’re still there and the same goes for you with them.
- They aren’t the “Facebook Friends!” They are those who you do life with and they do life with you, no matter what life brings.
- You stick together! You can have lots of fans and foes (I know this too well in my position), but few friends!
- If you have a few “steady, devoted friends” you are doing way better than the person with way “too many friends!”
Prov. 27:6, 9 “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy… The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.”
- We live in a culture where we believe that if someone kisses you, etc., they’re a good friend. But if they rebuke me, point out sin in my life, hold me accountable, they are an enemy!
- Proverbs says, “NO! That’s foolish thinking!”
- Because they person always “kissing up” to you may be a “Judas!” Remember, Judas kissed Jesus and sold him out!
- The fact is, a real, true friend may “wound” you. But they don’t would you to destroy you, but to sanctify you- to get you to clean up your act because they love you!
- A true friend will graciously and lovingly point out sin, foolishness, or rebellion in your life. They’ll say, “You know I love you, right?” And that’s why they’ll risk wounding you- they’re unwilling to watch you ruin your life.
- At first, that feels like a wound, but it’s like a surgeon doing surgery on you because you need it. The wound may hurt, but it is to heal you, make you better!
- The first question to ask when someone confronts you: “Is this person a true friend?” If so, then listen! A true friend is not someone who lets you get away with everything.
- A true friend doesn’t wound to hurt, but to heal!
- And they give you wise counsel! Their wisdom may wound you, but it’s still wisdom and that’s what you want. You want to be a wise friend and you want wise friends!
- Sadly, many of us call people friends that we’d never go to for advice!!
In saying all this today, the wisdom of Proverbs about Relationships and Friends, I have discouraged most of you! You may not be the great friend you thought you were OR have the great friends you thought you did!
But, remember, Proverbs and these verses I shared today, are all about wise living and how to have the best life. Proverbs is all about seeing life as it really is and making the best, most wise, what’s good for me and good for others, choice!
Fools live in an imaginary world of pretending “it’s all good” when in reality, it isn’t! You’ve got to be wise; you’ve got to make the best choice and one of the most important choices you will make is who your friends are, and the friend you choose to be!
Honestly, I haven’t always been the good or best friend; even in my marriage. And I haven’t always chosen the best friends. But I’ve learned how serious if a choice this is, and so should you, so again, when it comes to relationships as friends, choose wisely.
Six Questions to Consider:
- How is Jesus a good friend to you?
- How can you be a better friend? To whom?
- Whom, if anyone, would you consider a good friend to you? Why?
- In light of this teaching and the words of wisdom in Proverbs, what is changing in your thinking regarding friendship?
- With whom do you no longer need to be friends?
- With whom do you need to pursue in true friendship more intentionally?