Thursday, 26 November 2009


Andrew Corbett in India, with friendsSome people are naturally likeable. They enter a room full of people and everyone smiles. They tell a joke and everyone laughs. They get invited to everyone's parties. Even when they disappoint others they are quickly forgiven. But why? How is it that some people always seem to have friends no matter what?


If all of your friends agreed to forgive you X times a year, how much would X equal? If all of your friends committed to be friend no matter how you treated them, how would this change you?

Friends come in about 6 billion different types. Some friends are self-reliant and interesting. These friends laugh a lot, try new things, have dreams and goals they are achieving, are always making new friends and introducing their friends to each other, and they are always lending a helping hand. Other friends are awkward. They don't initiate contact or conversation - but still expect it from others. They are pessimistic and reluctant to try new things. They always seem to be battling something. We also all have friends who are up and down. And then there are friends who are transactional (perhaps work colleagues or sporting team mates). No matter how you might describe your friends, in order for them to be a friend, a true friend, they must have learned or experienced your fault(s) and chosen to overlook it/them. This is one of the fundamentals of a strong friendship - covering an offense.
Proverbs 17:9 Whoever covers an offense seeks love,
but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.

Friends know (some of) each others' faults, weaknesses, and battles. We all have them- faults, that is. We each have different strategies for handling them. Some of us hide them as best we can. Some of us blame-shift. Still some of us just own up to them and hope others can make allowances for us.


So if you are looking for people to be your friends, you might want to accept that not everybody is going to be able to overlook your faults. Don't worry too much about this. It's normal and average. But people like this usually make excellent acquaintances. They will chat with you about the weather, about work, sport or even politics. Most of your friends throughout your life will be acquaintances. Fewer of our friends will be close-friends. Most people will only every have around 7 close-friends thoughout their entire life and often only one or two at a time. These are friends who know your faults, failings, and bad-habits and have grown to overlook them. Then there are our closest-friends. Most emotionally healthy people will have one, maybe two, such friends throughout their lifetime. Your spouse is the most elligible person to be your closest-friend.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.

    A good friend hangs in there with you - they stick (Proverbs 18:24) - despite your faults. By the way, the One who knows you best loves you most.

    A good friend is cool-headed - they don't scare you (Proverbs 22:24) - even when they are under pressure they don't lash out at those around them.

    A good friend is generous - they don't use you (Proverbs 19:6) - they help you.

    A good friend imparts joy and shares in our highs and lows (Romans 12).

    A good friend is both interested and interesting - they have pursued wisdom and knowledge (Proverbs 27:9) - and can speak well.

    A good friend is honest - because they care they challenge, correct, rebuke and reconcile (Proverbs 27:6).

    People tend to attract friends if-

  • They smile and look happy around people.

  • They have a generous spirit.

  • They remember small details about people they are speaking with.

  • They are interesting- they try new things, read new books, take courses to learn, exercise, socialise and evangelise.

You are more likely to have (more)friends if you also emulate these traits. Of course, if you think about it, God is The Ultimate Friend. To worship God is draw near to your best friend.

Father, help us to make friends well. Help us to care for our friends and help them. Grant it oh God that we can be a better friend to more people.

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