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How do you keep friends for a long time?

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How do you keep friends for a long time?—Kyle


Asa Answers:

Dear Kyle,

That is an interesting question. I’ve never viewed friendships through the lens of time, so your idea of planning for a long-term friendship really made me think. I don’t meet people and think to myself, I want to be friends with this person for 3.5 years. I have to admit, there are many people I’ve called friends that I don’t talk to now; I don’t even know where they are. There are people who have been on my Facebook friend list for years that I don’t talk to. My friends from grade school and high school are off living their lives, and I could not tell you how they are.

I feel like the word “friend” can mean different things at different times in your life. When I was a kid, a friend was someone who let me ride their Big Wheel and play GI Joes with them. In high school my friends were the guys I hung out with and joked with. As I get older, the definition of the word continues to change. And although I’m not lucky enough to have some of my childhood friends in my life, I do have some good friends. This is how I keep them:

I married my best friend, and we have a covenant that says we are together till death. Marriage is one way to keep a friend for a long time. You may be a little young and not ready for that, so let’s move on.

In Proverbs 18:24 Solomon says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly” (NKJV).* That simple statement helped me as I started friendships. When someone is not trustworthy, honest, or sincere, no one wants to be friends with them. If you are angry a lot or are selfish, people are going to avoid you. In short, you have to be all the things you are looking for in a friend. Cultivating these qualities in yourself will help you in two ways. First, it will make you more like Jesus, and people wanted to be with Him all the time. And second, it will ensure that when you have a friend you will treat them the way you would want to be treated, which is part of the golden rule (see Luke 6:31).

It’s also important to choose your friends wisely. “Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go” (Proverbs 22:24, NKJV). Not too many of us would attempt to make friends with a drug dealer or murderer, but there are people you should be cautious of befriending. Some people use others to fill a need they have. When the need is filled, they terminate the friendship and move on. Exercise discretion and take your time developing relationships to prevent falling in with the wrong crowd.

The last thing you need to understand is that sometimes friendships don’t work out. Jesus was friends with all His disciples, but one still betrayed him. Putting all your trust in human relationships will ultimately end in disappointment. We make many mistakes and hurt the people around us so much that if it weren’t for forgiveness no one would have friends. You need to put your trust in a friend who will never fail. The full verse of Proverbs 18:24 reads, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (NKJV). That friend is Jesus, and He will not let you down at any point during your relationship. Developing a relationship with the King of heaven will be the most rewarding friendship you can ever have.

* Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 



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