This month we are going to be looking at friendships. Today’s Bible Journaling Scripture is Proverbs 22:24-25, “Don’t make friends with an angry person, and don’t be a companion of a hot-tempered one, or you will learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” Making friendships can be difficult. Solomon is giving us wise counsel when it comes to choosing our friends. He also gives us a warning. When we make friends, we must be careful. Being associated with someone who is ill-tempered, angry, or negative can influence us, and we can become like them.
The Apostle Paul also gave a warning, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV) We must be wise in choosing friends. In his commentary on Proverbs 22:24-25, Joseph Benson states, “As there is nothing more necessary than a friend, so a principal point of wisdom consists in the choice of him; concerning which, observe this rule among others, not to enter into any familiarity with a man prone to anger;”
In finding good friends, we should look to Jesus as our example. He is the best, truest friend we could ever have. (Proverbs 18:24) We should look at how He treated His friends and look for friendships among people who exhibit Jesus’ characteristics. Are they loving and kind? Do they have compassion on others? Are they steadfast, being a support for those who are going through difficult times? Or are they friends only for what they can get from others? Do they resort to anger when they don’t get what they want? Are they a constant sound of negativity? How do they measure up to Jesus’ example of friendship?
The Bible gives us many verses on the benefits of good friendships, “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” (Proverbs 27:9 NIV) “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV) There are several other verses on friendships, and I encourage the reader to do a study on them. The Bible gives us wisdom on what constitutes a good friend.
A component of friendship is love and faithfulness, even if it means they must give warnings that may hurt us but would be for our benefit in the end. A true friend will point out issues we need to deal with but in a loving, caring manner. It may hurt, but we know that they are telling us these things for our own good. “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” (Proverbs 27:6 NIV) We may not want to hear what they have to say, but we know they have our best interest at heart. Look for friends who are filled with wisdom. They will temper their wise words with genuine care and will walk with us through whatever issue we are in.
I think the most important component of having a close friend is whether they know Jesus as their Savior. Being unequally yoked isn’t just for marriage, it’s also for friendships. (2Corinthians 6:14) We can be casual acquaintances with unbelievers so that we can have opportunities to lead them to Jesus, but close friends must be Believers. As our Bible Scripture warns, “Don’t make friends with an angry person, and don’t be a companion of a hot-tempered one, or you will learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”
When we make close friends with Christ-followers, we are of one mind, one spirit, and in unity in all we do. Being yoked with unbelievers can lead us away from Jesus if we aren’t careful. Use good judgment in choosing friends. There is an old adage, “You are known by the company you keep.” It’s true! When we closely associate with someone, we tend to pick up their habits and mannerisms. We are to reflect Jesus, our Best Friend, and we should choose friends who also reflect the attributes of Jesus.
As you choose friends, be careful. Pray and ask God to help you in forming relationships.