“All she does is hurt me, and I realize I just can’t trust her anymore. Why do I even waste my time!”
Those words were shared with me by a beautifully broken woman.
As she cried and ruminated over a painful situation, I prayed for God to give me words to comfort her. But all I could do was sit… and listen… and let her share her heart.
Even though we barely knew each other, we shared a common bond.
… Our connection was in experiencing the sting of a friendship gone bad.
Ugh… I could totally relate to her feelings.
There have been seasons in my life where friendships have been such a source of joy. Times where they’ve made me feel completely supported and loved… like someone had my back.
But friends have also been one of my biggest sources of pain. Hate and betrayal and insensitivity from women have knocked me to my knees.
… And if I was honest, I’d admit to deeply injuring others, too.
Sheesh… friendships can be tricky to navigate well.
But God created us for relationships, and He designed us to support each other through… community.
We need each other.
So, how do we love our friends well?
What makes for a good friend?
How does God define a good friend?
Well, here are FIVE WAYS we can be good, faithful, loving friends.
1. We love sacrificially
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”(John 15:13)
When we love our friends like this, we stop thinking only of ourselves. We don’t love them based on what they can do for us. We love them like Jesus, placing their needs above our own.
Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
2. We accept unconditionally
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17)
This is an intentional decision to love no matter what. Unconditional love means we don’t expect perfection from our friends. We are quick to ask for forgiveness and even quicker to forgive because we trust their intentions. They get the benefit of the doubt.
We love our friends… stumbles, fumbles and all.
3. We trust completely
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)
While you might have a group of amazing friends, there may only be a few deep water friendships in there. It takes wisdom to know those friends to whom you can completely bare your heart. Trusting too easily or too quickly can lead to ruin. But choosing wisely will create a bond… just like a sister.
“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.” (Alfred Lord Tennyson)
4. We maintain realistic expectations
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy…” (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Friends love one another by understanding there are limitations. When someone expects you to be available at the drop of a dime or you expect that of others, a line has been crossed. Good friends respect the demands of each other’s lives… like marriages, children, other friendships, jobs, etc.
Good friends release each other from any unrealistic, unhealthy demands.
5. We speak the truth
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted …” (Proverbs 27:6)
We need our friends to build us up, encourage us, and affirm us. They give us energy, suggestions, and ideas to keep our life on track. They listen to us when no one else will. We can ruminate over life’s struggles with them.
But there are times true friends tell us the hard truths. They deliver those difficult messages with love and grace with the goal of making us better. Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
What a beautiful picture of a deep water friend.
There’s a quote that says, “Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things.”
We’ve unpacked five of those little things today.
What would you add?
REALITY CHECK: The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately… without growing apart. (Elisabeth Foley)
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