“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” - Proverbs 18:24
I’m coming up on my ten year high school reunion this fall, and while so much has changed in a decade, one thing has stayed the same: my core group of best friends. We might not see each other every day or live down the road from one another like we used to, but we have stayed close through the highs and lows and major changes of our lives, and for that I’m so grateful.
The Bible has a lot to say about friendship, especially in the book of Proverbs. This book is referred to as wisdom literature and was written by King Solomon (David’s son, the wisest king ever to rule). Throughout the book, Solomon instructs his readers to stick close to God and exercise good judgment, especially when it comes to our friends.
In this particular proverb, the focus is on loyalty. Solomon writes “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin.” If our friendships are only rooted in shallow matters like popularity, looks, entertainment, or associations, they likely won’t last when the going gets tough. Especially when I was younger, I spent way too much time chasing after being a part of the “popular” group of girls, and I was always brokenhearted when I was left out. Yet once I realized that I wanted what these girls had rather than wanted to be their friends because of who they were, it was much easier to make friends who actually reciprocated my love and friendship.
While unreliable friendships end poorly, Solomon does offer hope as he reminds the reader “but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Life is full of ups and downs, and we need friends who will ride these with us. When suffering comes, when we’re sick, when a relationship ends, or when we’re just having a bad day, do we have friends that will reach out or show up at our door with ice cream and a hug? Do we have friends who we can trust will pray for us and check in on us as we need it?
This might sound cheesy to say, but one of the best ways to ensure you find good friends is to find friends who love and walk with God.
Anyone can be a good friend, but the Holy Spirit helps us to be a really great one. When we walk with Him, we are filled with love and other fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). We are able to love others well and receive love, too.
If you feel like you have great friends who love you, rejoice! Thank God for the gift of meaningful friendships and tell your people how grateful you are for them. If you do not, ask God to bring people your way who will be great friends to you, who will love you and point you to Him, and who will stick with you along the way. Know that great friendships sometimes take a long time to form, but when the come, they can be one of the greatest gifts of our lives.