Todays topic: How do you define the word friend? What are three things you can do to be a better friend to the people in your life?
There are friends, and then there are friends. I suppose I should say there are acquaintances and there are friends. But there are also those friends who truly become closer than family. I am pleased and humbled to say I have been blessed with all three. Very blessed.
A true friend is one who listens to you. A true friend is one who takes the time to know the real you. A true friend celebrates the best of who you are and encourages you to continue to grow in the areas you are less than your best – encourages with love and honesty and lots of grace. A true friend maintains healthy boundaries and rejoices with you when you maintain your own healthy boundaries. A friend cries with you, laughs with you, and is content to just sit with you when you need to be quiet and re-collect your self.
Proverbs has much to say about friends:
Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. 27:6
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. 27:9
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. 27:17
There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. 18:24
Jesus summed up the greatest qualification of a true friend (in His love for and friendship with us) in John 15:12-14:
Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
Even God desires to be our friend and for each of us to be His friend:
The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. Psalm 25:14
And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. James 2:23
Now, for what I can do to be a better friend. I’ve been giving that some thought, especially as I have been dealing with my “story” in counseling. The first thing I can do to be a better friend is to take the time to know myself so that I can fully offer myself in friendship. To be fully present with another is one of the greatest gifts there is. Second, I can learn to set healthy boundaries so that I am not so worn out or worn down. And third, I can slow down and take time with others and not be focused on my schedule and my wants. Listening with intentionality and an ear to the heart of God – that is my goal.
How about you? Any thoughts you want to add here?