February 11, 2019
By Steve King

One of the traits of a thriving Christian is healthy friendships.

The book of Proverbs gives us five traits of a healthy friend.[1] To help you remember them, think of a box labeled “A Healthy Friend is…” with five objects inside representing each trait.

Let’s look in the box:

  1. Committed (glue) — Healthy friends are mutually committed. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov.17:17). Be a healthy friend, and then you will attract healthy friends.
  2. Considerate (deodorant) — “He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him” (Prov. 27:14). Healthy friends read each other’s needs and respond accordingly.
  3. Confidential (a key) — “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter” (Prov. 11:13). “A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends” (Prov. 16:28). Our secrets are under lock and key with a healthy friend. The truth is, if someone will gossip to you, they will gossip about you.
  4. Candid (mirror)  — “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov. 27:6). A true friend cares more about your welfare than the tension that may result from telling you the truth. It is freeing to live in an environment where we can admit our weaknesses and lean on each other.
  5. Constructive (hammer) — “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Prov. 27:17).

Ephesians 2:21 says: “In (Christ Jesus) the whole building (believers in Christ), is being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” Paul is metaphorically referring to the construction process used in building the magnificent stone temples in Ephesus. Massive stones were rubbed together, producing friction and flattening rough surfaces, until they fit together perfectly without mortar. Two thousand years later, some of the stone buildings they fitted together are still standing. What a picture of God rubbing us together in relationships, which produces friction, rubs off our rough edges, to form a temple where He can be at home.

We all long for the ideal friend, and we all know that we have failed to be the ideal friend. So, face reality: Jesus Christ is the only ideal friend. He alone will perfectly satisfy our longings, forgive us, and empower and motivate us to be a true friend.

Let’s look to Jesus and be a friend that attracts healthy friends.

 [1] Proverbs identifies over thirty kinds of people and tells us how to wisely relate to each.