As parents we become very aware of our children’s choices in friends. Whether it be at school, sports, or even at church. Regardless of where it is, we will try to “guide and direct” our children towards those friends we feel will be good for our child’s character. What’s ironic is that so often as husbands and wives, we neglect to make the same cautious choices with who we call friends. Now I realize that many of you reading this will begin to protest and say, “Hey, I am very proud of those I call friends.” That’s great and all; however, for many their choices have been less led by Biblical guidelines and guided more by emotional cues.
I love a quote by author Charlie Jones; “You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years…except for the people with whom you associate and the books you read.” So true.
Let me share four things we all should look for and teach to our children when choosing friends:
- People who influence you to be the person God intended: “As iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other.” (Prov 27:17) Relationships are the tools God uses to do this. When you are with somebody, ask yourself, “Do I like who I am when I am around this person? Am I more open, loving and honest? Or do I like what I see in myself?”
- People who provide grace for the energy drain: When you are empty you need to be refueled-physically, spiritually, and relationally. To better accomplish that you should surround yourself with friends who will listen, encourage, and be there for you.
- People who let you be real: “A friend loveth at all times.” (Prov 17:17) The best relationships are those where you know you’re loved, you’re free to be yourself, and you can take off the fake façade and be transparent about the trials in your life. There is a uniqueness and genuine quality in friendships where you can be authentic.
- People who help you grow in faith: You need friends who will encourage you to pray, read the Bible, and help you see the bigger picture on seeking holiness instead of happiness. You also need them to demonstrate Biblical love towards you, to do whatever it takes to bring you into the righteousness of God.
Ephesians 4:16 talks about operating as a body, “All the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part does its own work to help the whole body grow and be strong in love.” Don’t try going about this alone. We were created to have relationships: first with God Himself then with those He has placed in our lives. Reach out to those friends that will reach back.