At church on Wednesday we listened to a great message preached about the lame man and his faithful & devoted friends that were absolutely committed to getting him to Jesus to be healed. This story out of Mark is a Bible story that most of us are familiar with, and the illustration was used to encourage us to invite friends to church for our upcoming “Friend Day.” It really made me stop and think about the kind of friend I am to others. Am I being the true example and Godly friend that I need to be? If you think about that story, do you love your friends enough to be that devoted to them, without expecting anything in return?
I think we sometimes forget that the Bible is our instruction book for life and it covers EVERYTHING; any situation, circumstance, or struggle. Yes, God thought of it all. So, I am a total acronym nerd and came up with this little acronym for the word “friend” with verses to support each thought.
Are you being a true FRIEND??
I (interested in helping)
N (never judgmental)
D (devoted in love)
Faithful/Loyal:We are called to be faithful to our friends; always there for them; and never give up on them despite any circumstances. This is not always an easy task, as others may make decisions we don’t like, or hurt us in some way. However, the Bible tells us to be loyal to our friends, as “a friend sticks closer than a brother.”
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." –Proverbs 27:6
“Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?” – Proverbs 20:6
Restorative:Whew! This is a toughie fo sho! No one likes to be corrected, and personally I’m not a big fan of confrontation. It’s so much easier to let that friend go on doing what he/she is doing, but we are CALLED to gently restore them and help guide them back on the right path. It’s so important to remember to always respond in love when you’re doing any “restoration” with your friends. On the flip side, it's important to be receptive/accepting and not get defensive if a friend is trying to help you out (if they're doing it for the right reasons).
“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” –Galatians 6:1
“The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.” – Proverbs 12:26
Interested in helping:Sometimes your friends don’t want your help, so you definitely have to find a balance. But aren’t you so thankful for the friends who have helped you along the way? Aren’t you thankful for the friends you have right now who you know would drop anything to help you? I certainly am, and I want to be the kind of friend I would like to have.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” –Proverbs 27:9
Encouraging:There we go….finally! This one comes a little more naturally to me, as one of my Spiritual gifts is encouraging others. However, I think I need to do it more often. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives that we don’t realize when someone around us is in desperate need of encouragement. One of my favorite ways to “encourage” others is to share Scripture. What better way to lift somebody up then to remind them of God’s promises??
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” –Proverbs 27:17
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” -Ephesians 4:29
Never judgmental:I think this is difficult for some of us because we tend to get caught up thinking “I would NEVER do that” …totally not true, and if you have that mindset, ya better watch out! (Satan capitalizes on complacency, pride, & naievety.) Your friends don’t need you to judge them. There are enough people in the world doing that. Just be a listening, supportive ear.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; – Luke 6:37
Devoted in love:The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind….and the second is to LOVE OTHERS as yourself. If we do everything in love, it’s hard to go wrong.
"After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” -1 Samuel 18:1
“A friend loves at all times...” –Proverbs 17:17
So, are you being a TRUE, Godly friend??