Friends. I'll admit that loving your friends can be a whole lot easier than loving your family. Why? Friends are chosen people who we know, love, get along with, like and share a bond with, this is commonly known as a 'friendship'. It is up to us who we make our friends. This is a good thing but can also be a negative thing when the wrong friends are allowed into your life. Often enough the people you surround yourself with rub off on you and help shape who you are. Friends and family usually play the biggest role in that. Our friends are people we want to invest our time into, people we like to hang out with and can also be our role models. Friends learn from one another and have a great influence on how we act, who we are and who we will become. It's EXTREMELY important to surround yourself with friends that will speak into your life, encourage you to make wise decisions and help you in times of trouble.
Here's what the Bible says about friendship:
"The righteous chose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray."
This adds to what I mentioned earlier about surrounding yourself with friends that are good for you, not friends that will lead you astray. This could be people who blaspheme, smoke, fornicate, do drugs. The Bible and I aren't saying you shouldn't be friends with people that do these things. As Christians we shouldn't judge them (Matthew 7:1), simply encourage them to do the right thing and not allow their actions to turn into our own.
"A friend loves at all times."
We make mistakes and our friends do as well. We should love people, even with their imperfections. We have been instructed to love as Christ has loved us (John 13:34). This can even go beyond friends! Love is a language that doesn't need to be spoken. We should never stop being friends with someone because they made a mistake, this is where we can practice forgiveness Colossians 3:13).
"Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but the enemy multiplies kisses."
This has happened to me many times, but when it does, it's when I value the friend even more. Telling the truth to a friend can be very difficult, especially when you know they don't want to hear it! I had a really close friend on a school camp and she was always causing a scene and making it difficult for others to enjoy it. She was always very bold and good at voicing her opinion, but she wasn't a Christian so I knew I could pull out the 'What would Jesus do?' card. As much as I didn't want to, I ended up telling her that she was ruining peoples camps. School camps were a time when the class would get to know each other better and form closer friendships. She was mad at me for a day or two but she soon came around and realised she was ruining the camp for others. She even thanked me. Meggie has often given me advice, and it hasn't always been what I wanted to hear, but later I could always see the wisdom in it. A true friend will give you advice when you don't want to hear it, but you can always trust that they're looking out for you.
"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."
This verse pretty much wraps it up and is pretty self explanatory. The love between friends is a special love and shouldn't be taken for granted. Friends are a gift from God and the bonds between them are something they will always cherish and never forget!
"A friend should be one in whose understanding and virtue we can equally confide, and whose opinion we can value at once for its justness and its sincerity." - Robert Hall
Thank you Jesus for our friends and for putting them in our lives at just the right times :)