Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lasting Friendships

Chuckle:  "I drive much too fast to worry about cholesterol"
Quote:  "My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me." --Henry Ford
"There are 'friends' who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24 NLT).
It's easy to treat people as a means to an end rather than as ends in themselves. As a gregarious man once boasted, 'I have friends I haven't used yet.' A false friend is like your shadow. As long as there is sunshine, he sticks close by. But the minute you step into the shade, he disappears.
Do you have someone who you consider a close friend? Is that person trustworthy with even your most personal information? Is that person someone who lifts you up with wise and helpful counsel when appropriate? In our selfish, what's in it for me, world, it seems to me that true, genuine, and lasting friendships are few and far between. In many situations, casual acquaintances have been substituted for legitimate friendships. Many people are lonely among the crowds and feel cut off and alienated from other people. When they look at all the people around them, it makes them even more aware of their isolation. As we think about friendships today, let's do so from two perspectives: the friend you need; and the friend you are.
All of us are in need of friends who genuinely care about us, stick close to us, listen to us, and offer loving assistance in our time of need. They are faithful both when things are going well and in times of adversity. A true friend is not judgmental, but offers love, encouragement, support, unselfish advice and constructive criticism when appropriate. It is better to have one friend like this than dozens of false and superficial "friends." A true friend is not hot and cold -- he or she is consistent and always has your best interests at heart. "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity" (Proverbs 17:17 NIV).
A friend who genuinely cares about you may find it necessary to give you unpleasant counsel and advice at times. However, you will always know that such advice from a trusted friend is for your own good. "Wounds from a friend are better than many kisses from an enemy" (Proverbs 27:6 NLT). On the other hand, a false friend may whisper soothing and sweet words and happily send you on your way. Even though painful at times, a friend's advice can be very beneficial if we will only listen. "The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense" (Proverbs 27:9 NLT).
The best way to find a true friend is to be one. There are people around you who are in desperate need of a friend. Ask God to guide you to a person who has a friendship need that only you can satisfy, then accept the challenge of being a true and trusted friend. Be aware that a careless tongue will destroy trust, the very foundation of friendships. "A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; a gossip separates the best of friends" (Proverbs 16:28 NLT). An extension and paraphrase of the Golden Rule: "Be a friend to another and as you would have him or her be a friend to you."

Love, Jerry & Dotse


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