A friend loves at all times… Proverbs 17:17 NKJV
This calling is a rather obvious one… but I would like to still touch on the topic of friendship.
What does it mean to be a true friend? Is it just a social thing? Obviously, it is not. If it were, we would not become so emotional when a friend is lost. Does it mean to be dependable? How about caring? Being a good listener? Offering advice when requested? Understanding and compassionate? I think all of those things and so much more are what make a good friend.
How many times have you been having a bad day, but a good friend called and you instantly cheered right up? I know for me, personally, I have just a few friends that I can vent to. Isn’t it nice to have someone who you can rant to and know that they won’t think differently of you for it? How about knowing you have someone praying for you when you need it? Or a friend who will be honest when your hair color washes you out and you’re jeans make you look great? And of course, it’s great to know you can turn to someone, pour your heart out, and know that anything you tell them won’t be passed on to someone else.
We should always strive to be a good friend, not a mediocre one. We can’t be perfect, but we should try to not be flaky, negative, or distant. Reliable, uplifting, close, and available as much as possible.
What are some ways you can minister to a friend though?
- Pray: Offer to pray for/with your friend whether it is something small or large. The need for prayer is always there.
- Offer Help: Sure, you have your own family to tend to… And yes, they should come first. But when you can, help out your friend(s). Maybe they’re sick and need a little help with the kids/house/meals. When a friend has a baby, offer to bring over a meal and hold the baby while they shower or nap.
- Listen: Sometimes we just need someone to hear us out. Don’t give your opinion or feel as though you need to solve the problem. Just listen.
- Accept Advice: You know, sometimes I don’t know everything. When someone offers advice, I try not to act like a know-it-all or tell them why I think their idea wouldn’t work. I simply say, whether I like the advice or not, “I’ll keep that in mind!” Sometimes a friend just needs to feel as though they are helping, and by being rude all you are doing is causing confusion. You never know, you may remember what they said for yourself or someone else down the road and be glad you listened.
- Avoid Being Critical: Depending on the friendship, you may be able to give a close friend constructive criticism. Like I said, and let me highlight: Depending on the friendship! Don’t be mean, negative, or downright inconsiderate. Remember the persons feelings. How would you feel if they did that to you?
- Apologize: We all make mistakes. Sometimes we do things without realizing it. If you think you may have done something, intentional or not, to offend someone then please tell them you are sorry.
- Be There: Do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it. This is a big “ouch” for me, as I’m always having to cancel things for various reasons. I used to never do that! Something to work on!
- Be A Witness: Invite your friends to join you in church or begin a devotional/Bible study.
- Make Time: When possible, meet with your friend and spend some quality time together.
- Don’t Be Sensitive: No one is perfect. Not even your friends. Cut them some slack.
- Avoid Jealousy: You are not your friend’s only friend. They have other relationships with other people. Don’t be “That Friend” that feels they have to be a part of every. single. thing… Be an individual!!!
Remember, you can’t choose your family… You CAN choose your friends… CHOOSE WISELY!!! Never let anyone walk all over you in the name of “friendship.” Show God’s love, yes. Be a door mat, no.
And now, in honor of Karen and her love for nostalgic television, I leave you with this… Get the cheesecake!