BEING FRIENDS WITH ONE ANOTHER
1. Our joys & sorrows in life are affected by the social circle in which we move. Friendships can either help or hurt: Prov. 22:24-25; 17:17 (1 Cor. 15:33-34).
2. 1 Cor. 12:24-26 - Christians are one body - Mutual care should exist.
3. Rom. 12:9-16 - Catalog of the privileges & functions friendship.
4. Friend: A companion of life, endearment. "Those who are interested in our happiness, concerned for our welfare, rejoice in our joys, weep with our tears; who counsel & cheer us & are always ready to aid us, these are our friends." (Dick Blackford)
I. WE SHOULD NURTURE THE QUALITIES & TRAITS OF FRIENDSHIP.
A. Love - Prov. 17:17: cf. 1 Sam. 18:1.
1. At all times - cf. Commitment of Ruth - Ruth 1:16-18.
2. Prov. 17:17 - Adversity: (#1).
3. Sacrifice - Jno. 15:13.
a. cf. "The Depth of Friendship" (#2).
b. Friends come in adversity with sacrificial love for each other!
1. Without trust, endearment will not be established nor maintained.
2. Psa. 62:8 - Trust causes openness with security.
3. Prov. 11:13 - A faithful spirit enhances friendship - Prov. 25:19 - Unfaithfulness hurts it!
4. Jno. 15:14 - Trust Jesus by obeying Him.
C. Counsel Together - cf. Psa. 55:12-14.
1. Faithful - Prov. 27:6 (True).
a. Cynic's view: "A true friend always stabs you in the front." (Oscar Wilde)
b. Psa. 141:5 - A kindness intended to bless - Gal. 4:16.
c. Prov. 27:9 - Joy in friend borne out of good counsel. (#3)
2. Strength - Prov. 27:17, 19 (common experiences, hurts, joys, decisions, etc.).
3. Counsel which sees the heart & intends to strengthen your friend.
D. Compassion - cf. Job 6:14-15.
1. "False friends are like a shadow, keeping close to us while we walk in the sunshine, but leaving us when we cross into the shade." (Christian Bovee)
2. "To suffer with another;" "a feeling of distress due to the ills of others."
3. Heart of compassion which prompts kind responses - Col. 3:12; 1 Cor. 12:26.
-cf. Matt. 10:42 - Even a cup of cold water is rewarded!
II. BEING A BETTER FRIEND.
A. Be Friendly - Prov. 18:24. (Friendship is a 2-way street!)
1. Toward strangers (show hospitality).
a. At worship services: Greet with real interest & concern (Rom. 16:16).
b. Away from services: Show interest, be helpful, loving, visit each other.
2. Do not polarize into family & non-family groups. (Practically all churches must deal with this):
a. Family: Remember to develop friendships with others, & realize others scrutinize you.
b. Non-family: Avoid an "us & them" attitude; don't blame others (family) for your deficiencies.
c. 1 Cor. 12:25 - No schism in the body (church) of Christ - Same care.
B. Be Respectful of the Lives of Others - Prov. 25:17.
1. Show courtesy for others (All have obligations, tasks - Be aware & don't "wear out your welcome!").
2. Show thoughtfulness - Prov. 27:14.
C. Share Life With Others - cf. Phil. 2:3-4.
1. "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you." (Dale Carnegie)
2. Get acquainted, get interested & look out for others.
3. Eccl. 4:9-12 - You will find strength, security & safety in the bond of true friendship!
1. True friendship involves loving & being loved at all times.
2. Cannot be the best kind of friend to others unless I until we are Christ's friend! (Jno. 15:14)
QUOTATIONS from Illustrations Unlimited, James S. Hewett, ed., 226-229:
#1: "The main business of friendship to sustain and make bearable each other's burdens. We may do more of that as friends than we do anything else." (Eugene Kennedy)
#2: One could not but be moved by the story of the solier who asked his officer if he might go out into the "No Man's Land" between the trenches in World War I to bring in one of his comrades who lay grievously wounded. "You can go," said the officer, "but it's not worth it. Your friend is probably killed, and you will throw your own life away." But the man went. Somehow he managed to get to his friend, hoist him onto his shoulder, and bring him back to the trenches. The two of them tumbled in together and lay in the trench bottom. The officer looked very tenderly on the would-be rescuer, and then he said, "I told you wouldn't be worth it. Your friend is dead and you are mortally wounded." "It was worth it, though, sir," he said. "How do you mean, 'worth it?' I tell you your friend is dead." "Yes, sir," the boy answered, "but it was worth it, because when I got him he was still alive, and he said to me, 'Jim, I knew you'd come.'"
#3: "Ah, the beauty of being at peace w another, neither having to weigh thoughts or measure words, but spilling them out just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away." (Arab proverb)