Having a good friend you can trust is something that any woman, and any Christian for that matter, can hardly do without. It's especially sweet when you can share any and all parts of your heart and thoughts with that person and know they will never judge you or think less of you, because they know they have their own struggles. I think it's important to think about how we treat other people, and whether or not we're good friends. I have studied the life of Job and his "friends" and have come up with some ideas on how we can be good friends.
1. Love at all times (Proverbs 17:17)
*When Job's time of testing came, his friends did not take into account his past reputation. They should not automatically assume that Job was in sin. Sometimes God allows things into our lives and it really doesn't have anything to do with us. God allows us to experience things so others can see us glorify Him! When a person is going through a rough patch, don't assume they brought it on themselves with sin. Respond in love, kindness and with an attitude willing to help no matter what.
2. Don't Gossip! (Proverbs 16:28, 17:9)
*When your friend shares something with you and asks you not to tell anyone, make sure you don't! That includes your husband, unless you have your friend's permission. I know people who have no secrets from their husbands, and that's fine, but tell your friend this BEFORE she discloses personal information.
*If it's something you cannot handle, DON'T bring it before a group of women to ask they to pray, or to seek which would like to take your place. Talk with your friend, tell her the issue, and then give her a list of trusted women that you can meet with TOGETHER to discuss her problem. It's better to admit you can't handle something than to try and help in your flesh and do more damage!
3. Reprove Friends of Their Sin (II Timothy 4:2)
*We cannot let our friends continue in obvious sin. We cannot make excuses for them in our mind, or listen to theirs. If they have done something to offend you don't say 'Oh, that's ok.' When it clearly is not. We must be willing to share with them (and want them to share with us!) and use language that is glorifying to God, but does not make light of the sin.
*This also ties into the Gospel, with our unsaved friends. Maybe you have a friend who is recovering from surgery and needs your help. Great! Do it! But don't let the opportunity go by to share the Gospel. Jesus healed people, but never without sharing the truth, and knowing their faith. He knew people's physical needs could be met but they would never be happy without being spiritually healed. Sharing the Gospel is the ultimate reproof of sin. Pray for boldness!
4. Get to Know Your Bible (Proverbs 27:17)
*The idea in the verse above (iron sharpeneth iron...) is the same as sharpening a knife. You take the blade of a knife and run it over a metal rod quickly, until it's sharp, right? Well, we as Christians help each other by talking about the Word of God. We go back and forth sharing things we've learned and that keeps each other sharp! We learn from one another, but we also keep each other accountable. You can't be involved in that process if you don't know, or are not in, the Word of God.
*Also, how can we comfort or help others in their time of need without the hope found in God's Word? Yes, John 3:16 is a great and important verse, but if it's the only one we've memorized, it won't go very far. Can it help someone after the loss of a family member, an act of adultery, struggles with homosexuality, or feelings of worthlessness? It can in conjuntion with other scriptures, but not alone. If we don't know our Bibles, we will be of little help. A good friend has a word from the Lord to share because of the commitment they have to God's Word.
4. Give Up Your Life (John 15:13)
*Jesus is speaking in this verse about himself and his future death on the cross. I believe it can also apply to us as Christians. Not in the physical sense of dying for someone, (although it could!) but meaning to die to self. To be there no matter what the circumstances. Be willing to take that phone call in the middle of the night after a long day, leave the house at any time- even when you haven't had dinner and it's last minute. Good friends put no limit on what they'll do for each other. Be ready always to help financially, physically, or with counsel. What you expect of your friends when you have a need is what you need to be willing to do for them now, today.
*I had a woman call (well text) me one time saying she didn't want to live anymore and had taken pills. She didn't feel loved, and was ready to die. Now, I know because she contacted me that this wasn't really true. Anyone who lets someone know they have taken pills doesn't really want to die. So I immediately called 9-1-1 and raced to her house. This was about 10 AM on a Saturday I believe, so the Prince was home. I didn't think of the long process it would be, or what all I would need to do.
Turns out it was an all day affair. I had not taken anything with me. Just my car keys and my worry. So after spending literally all day in two different hospitals, they would release her. But only after she promised to stay with someone for two weeks to give herself time to recover without threat of doing it again.
Immediately I said I would take her home. At this time I had all three girls and a small two bedroom apartment. I hoped she didn't mind sleeping on the couch! And I did this without speaking to my husband, (which I wouldn't do again because I respect his opinion too much for that) but she was in dire straits. She came home with me and lived in our house for two weeks. Our girls loved having her there, and although none of us had much privacy, she knew she was loved and needed (she taught me to sew). It really was a good experience for all of us.
I am happy to say she is happily married now, and has always had a sweet spirit. I hope the time she spent with us proved to her that she is loved. Sometimes being a good friend means you give of yourself and sacrifice even your own comfort to help another.
And that's not to say I am a perfect friend! There are times when I need to confront my friends about their sin, or I should help them but am just too tired to do so, or I have shared information that wasn't mine to tell. The list goes on and on. But I truly want to be a good friend and want to be like Jesus.
There is no limit to how God can use us when we pattern our goals as a friend after the One True Best Friend of them all!