This life would be a lonely road if it weren’t for friends. They bring us joy, comfort, love, and more, and I imagine you would be hard pressed to find someone who could honestly say they didn’t want a true friend in their life.
In fact we have a lot of ideas about what a friend ought to be like, which usually gets boiled down to something selfish like “they’ll always be there for me when I need them,” but have you ever heard anyone say something like, “I’d really like a friend who needs me even when it’s inconvenient.” That’s why Jesus says the second greatest commandment is to love others as we love ourselves because otherwise we could never truly know friendship as God designed it.
With all that in mind, here are 8 Ways to Be a True Friend straight from scripture:
8. Loyalty: Think about how much it hurts when you’re betrayed before you throw your friends under the bus. Stick by their side and support them in their time of need. “Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?” (Proverbs 20:6)
7. Moderation: Your friends probably love you as much as you love them, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend every waking moment with them. Give them some space once and a while. “Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, that you not have it in excess and vomit it. Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor’s house, or he will become weary of you and hate you.” (Proverbs 25:16-17)
6. Self-Control: No one likes someone who is too impulsive or who can’t control their temper. “Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself.” (Proverbs 22:24-25)
5. Exclusivity: Being popular is rarely a recipe for true friendships. Even if you have a lot of acquaintances, make sure you have an inner circle and let your friends know they’re in it. “A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)
4. Empathy: Put yourself in your friends’ shoes and feel what they’re feeling in the best of times and the worst of times. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
3. Straight Forward: Friends don’t need your political correctness when they’re heading for disaster. If you see a friend making bad decisions, and you keep your mouth shut, you’re complicit in whatever harm comes their way. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.“ (Proverbs 27:6)
2. Generosity: What kind of friendship are you offering if you only gain from it and never give anything? Be abundantly generous to your friends with your time, energy, money, and even your own well-being. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
1. Love: And that all brings us back to love. Love your friends just like Jesus loves you; anything less isn’t really friendship at all. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)