Oil and perfume make the heart rejoice, as does the pleasantness of a friend’s suggestions from the heart. Proverbs 27:9 MLV
A dear friend moved out of state this week. Rose has been my confidant and prayer partner for twenty-seven years. While I am happy for her that she and her husband will be closer to their family, I will miss her greatly. Our biweekly get-togethers will switch to phone and video calls, and the occasional visit.
I’m thankful that the Lord gives us people to go through life with. Some are with us for a short season, others for life even when far away. A true friend is a blessing. The Lord knows we need those close relationships. Friends are mentioned in Scripture, along with what to look for in a person, and how to be good friends ourselves.
A friend loves at all times…Proverbs 17:17a RSV. I’ve been blessed to have many friends who love me no matter what my mood, circumstances, or schedule. They are quick to forgive. Like Rose, they love me in my good and my bad times.
Loyal friends don’t listen to gossip or spread it. I know that when I share with loyal friends, that it won’t go anywhere without permission, not even disguised as a prayer request. Rose has prayed for my situations and family members, as I have for hers. We pray with complete confidence that our prayer requests are confidential.
Better is open rebuke than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend… Proverbs 27:5, 6a NKJV. Sometimes it takes courage to be a true friend. I will never forget Rose lovingly rebuking me for a bad attitude I was carrying about a ministry that had ended for me. I wasn’t happy to hear her words, yet she was brave enough to suggest that maybe it was God’s will at the time. My friendship with Rose was important enough to me that I knew I had to get past my defensiveness and consider her counsel. In time I realized she was right. At other times Rose kindly prayed that I would have the wisdom, humor, or change in attitude to deal with a struggle I was having. She is good about receiving a rebuke as well.
A good friend helps others improve. Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another Proverbs 27:17 RSV. As we hold each other accountable and lift each other up, we become better people. I’ve become a better wife and mother through my friendships. I learned to pray for my family through the friends I gained in Moms in Prayer International and in church. I also gained skills in sewing, cooking, and gardening through others.
Relationships take time. Rose and I found we needed to plan to meet every other week, even if it was just for an hour, or our busy schedules quickly could crowd out our time for each other.
Relationships require communication. Do we actively talk and really listen? Do we hog the conversation, or perhaps not contribute? Sometimes I see people at a table in a restaurant, and each person is on their phone, not interacting with the people they are with. It’s a sad way to spend time together.
How are our friendships? Are we being a good friend? Let’s think of a friend and tell that person what they mean to us.
Dear Lord, Thank you for the gift of friends. Thank you for the richness they add to my life. Please help me to stay in touch and to be a better friend. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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