Proverbs 18:24, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Friends can either bring you down or lift you up. What kind of friends do you want? Do you want the kind of friends that are only looking out for themselves and when times get tough they are no where to be found or do you want a friend that sticks closer to you than a brother?
The kind of friends you have will affect your life. Choose the wrong friends and they will let you down when you need them most. Choose the right friends and they will stick by you like family.
Often times today’s proverb is only used as analogy for Jesus. And though it’s true that Jesus is our best friend (John 15:13), He is not the only friend in our life that can be loyal. King Solomon is specifically referring to earthly friends that can be so close to you they become like a brother or sister. On the other hand, there are other kinds of friends who are unfaithful and can cause you great harm. Sometimes our friends can even be closer to us than our family, if our family doesn’t serve Jesus.
Consider the follow illustration called, “The Circles of Friendship.” Imagine a circle with four smaller circles on the inside. As each inner circle gets closer to the center it gets smaller. The first and biggest circle of friendship is called, “acquaintances.” These are the kind of friends you may meet on the job, your gym, social media or at church. You know them but you don’t have a relationship with them. Now imagine the next circle of friendship is called, “companions.” These are the kind of friends you occasionally share your life with but aren’t really close to.
The next smaller circle is, “close friends.” These are the friends you regularly spend time with and when you have a success or failure they are the first ones you call. Lastly, the smallest circle of friendship in the center is called, “intimate friends.” These are the friends that are like a brother or sister to you. You may only have one or two intimate friends at a time in your life. Most people will only have a few in their entire life because it takes so long to develop this kind of friendship. Charles Kingsley said, “It is only the great hearted who can be true friends. The mean and cowardly, can never know what true friendship means.”
The powerful lesson from the circle of friends illustration, is to know who each friend is in your life and to make sure they’re in the right circle. If you have a “close friend” that is continually unreliable and untrustworthy the best thing to do is place them either in the “acquaintance” or “companion” circle because they will only let you down when you need them most.
Also, many of your friends will change circles because of the different seasons in your life. Some will get closer to your heart and others will move further away. The best thing you can do when you see a friendship lose its closeness is give them the “gift of goodbye.” Don’t try to keep people in your life when it’s their time to move on or force them to stay close to your heart. Also, be open to God bringing new people into your life with the “gift of hello” and moving others closer to your heart. Today’s intimate friend may become tomorrow’s acquaintance and today’s acquaintance may become tomorrow’s intimate friend.
Everyone needs good friends. Make sure you choose the right kind of friends and have them in the right place in your life.
- Do you have a friend in your life that is like a sibling or even closer?
- Are you someone else’s intimate friend?
- Pray that you can always be a reliable friend.