Do you like meeting new people and forming new friendships? Some people do. Some don’t. Those that do are usually the ones you see in a social setting (such as a party) who, if they see someone on their own, they feel they should be the one to go over to that person and have a conversation with them. Such people are naturally friendly and seem to make friends quite easily. They find starting conversations with others easier than most and seem to somehow have the knack of making people feel at ease. But these people are rare. In fact, good friends are hard to find these days. However, they may now become less rare if everyone who is unfriendly or friendless reads this short article and discovers how to become a good or even better friend.
A man who has friends must [first] himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24 NKJV
THE QUALITIES OF A FRIEND
Friends come in different shapes, sizes, ages, and either sex. A friend is someone who knows you and perhaps despite what they know about you they still like you. A friend invests their time, talent, interests, efforts, in getting to know you and along the way they are prepared to help you where they can. They know where you live. They know the date of your birthday. They know where you grew up. They know what book you’re reading at the moment. They know what makes you happy or upset. They share your heartaches and celebrate your triumphs. Importantly, some friends are for seasons that don’t last. Perhaps with this in mind the Sage wrote that family members rather than friends is where we seek and find lasting support:
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
But because families are often scattered beyond their hometown these days, the wisdom of the Sage found in Proverbs 27:10 should also be appreciated.
THE ACTS OF A FRIEND
Friends have limits. Despite the infinite number of internet memes that declare a true friend will always be there for you the reality is they can’t and probably shouldn’t be. Sure, they may be able to be with you in an emergency moment of crisis, but often times even those moments will be restricted by time, distance, and convenience. Your friends have jobs, families, and appointments to keep that may make it impracticable if not impossible for them to “always be there for you”. More reasonably, a good friend will usually make time to spend time with you. Over time they will have got to know you. This proper use of together-time builds trust and allows trust to grow. This kind of friendship trust enables you to hear hard truths from them about your traits that others might find unacceptable. A friend tells the truth to their friend. A friend can look you in the eye and tell you what you need to hear even though you don’t want to hear it. A friend can open a curtain to parts of your soul that you have not made visible to others. Yet too few people ever experience this kind of deep friendship.
He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
FINDING A GOOD TRUE FRIEND
The average person who lives in a community (unless they are one who lives on a desert island, or deserted island, or by themselves on a dessert island 🙂 ) will generally have up to sixty to seventy-or-so acquaintances. These are people they would wave to and probably have some idea about their name. The average person in that community would also probably have just a handful of people who would be their friends. And statistically maybe just one of those friends would be a close friend. However, it seems to be a modern phenomena that a growing number of people across all ages are experiencing loneliness from having no friend. So I have a few suggestions to solve this friendless (deadly) crisis.
¶ Know your sheep by name; carefully attend to your flocks;
FRIENDLY AS THE STEP TOWARD FRIENDSHIP
If you would have a friend, first show yourself to be friendly. Talk with people. Listen to people. Remember people’s names (when someone introduces themself to you, repeat their name back to them in your response. “Hi, my name is Slabodan.” “Hi Slabodan. Nice to meet you. My name is Annabel-Natasha.”). The next time you meet them, ask them a follow-up question based on your previous meeting. (“How did you go with that job interview?”) Show interest in them with questions. Share your interests. If you haven’t got any — get some! Be interesting! (‘Interesting people have lots of interests.’) In fact, common interests is often a magnet that attracts people into a friendship. Note how interesting these young men, Daniel and his three friends, must have been based on Daniel 1:4 – (i) well groomed and well dressed; (ii) highly educated; (iii) hungry to learn; (iv) dignified and polite; and (v) fluent in foreign languages and cultures.
- Talk with people you don’t know.
- Listen to the stories of people you’re getting to know.
- Remember people’s names.
- Follow up on information you gained about someone the next time you meet.
- Explore what interests a person has.
- Share your interests with the person you have just met – make yourself interesting.
- Get out your comfort zone every now and again and try something for the first time. When was the last time you tried something for the first time?
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.
YOU HAVE A FRIEND REQUEST
The message of the Gospel is really good news for anyone craving a true friend. The Gospel presents Jesus as the True Friend who “sticks closer than a brother”.
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
I’m a very shy person. As anyone who was at my last birthday party could testify, I am not a party-animal. Yet when I read the Gospels though I meet a Jesus who loved to be around ordinary people. He loved parties. If the producers of the Chosen are correct, Jesus loved to eat, drink and dance at parties with His friends.
And while Jesus was GOD-in-the-flesh; the Lord of Heaven and Earth;, He told His disciples that above all, He was their friend.
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
Jesus is now coronated as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, yet He wants to be your friend. You may feel like you are a nobody. (You and me both.) While we maybe no-bodies, we can know Somebody who knows everybody who calls us His friend – if we have accepted His Friend Request. Will you?
Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.
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