Friendship is a beautiful gift, and the Bible offers much guidance on how we should choose our friends and conduct ourselves in our friendships. It is crucial to understand the good and bad qualities of a friend, as described in the Bible, so that we can cultivate healthy relationships that align with our faith. This blog post will delve into the biblical perspective on friendship, drawing upon verses from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.
Good Qualities of a Friend
1. A True Friend Loves at All Times
A true friend is characterized by love that is both unconditional and consistent. The Bible tells us that “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17, NKJV). Love should be the foundation of any friendship, as it is the very essence of God Himself (1 John 4:8). To love a friend unconditionally means to be loyal and supportive, regardless of the circumstances.
2. A Godly Friend Encourages Spiritual Growth
The Bible emphasizes the importance of friends who encourage spiritual growth and help us grow closer to God. Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV) states, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” A good friend challenges us to become better people and to grow in our faith, pushing us to be more like Christ.
3. A Wise Friend Offers Godly Counsel
We all need guidance and advice at times, and the Bible advises us to seek counsel from wise friends. Proverbs 12:26 (NKJV) states, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.” A friend who provides godly counsel can help us make wise decisions and avoid the pitfalls of worldly influences.
4. A Faithful Friend Is Trustworthy
Trust is an essential element of any strong friendship. Proverbs 16:28 (NKJV) warns against sowing discord: “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends.” A faithful friend is someone we can trust with our deepest secrets, knowing that they will not betray our confidence or use our vulnerability against us.
5. A Compassionate Friend Shows Empathy
The Bible emphasizes the importance of empathy in our friendships. Romans 12:15 (NKJV) instructs us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” A good friend is someone who can share in our joys and sorrows, providing emotional support and understanding when we need it most.
6. A Humble Friend Accepts Correction
Humility is a vital quality of a good friend, as it allows for growth and improvement in our relationships. Proverbs 9:8 (NKJV) states, “Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.” A humble friend is open to receiving correction and is willing to change for the betterment of the friendship and their personal growth.
7. A Supportive Friend Bears Burdens
The Bible teaches us that we should help carry each other’s burdens. Galatians 6:2 (NKJV) instructs, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” A supportive friend is there to help us through difficult times, offering assistance and encouragement when we need it most.
Bad Qualities of a Friend
1. A Dishonest Friend Spreads Lies and Deceit
The Bible cautions us against forming friendships with dishonest people, as they can lead us astray and damage our reputation. Proverbs 20:19 (NKJV) warns, “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.” A dishonest friend can spread lies and rumors, undermining trust and damaging relationships.
2. A Foolish Friend Gives Bad Advice
The Bible also warns against forming friendships with foolish individuals who give poor advice. Proverbs 13:20 (NKJV) states, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” A foolish friend may lead us to make unwise decisions, which can have lasting consequences for our lives and our faith.
3. A Hot-Tempered Friend Stirs Up Conflict
Anger and conflict can be destructive to any relationship, and the Bible advises us to avoid forming friendships with hot-tempered individuals. Proverbs 22:24-25 (NKJV) states, “Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.” A hot-tempered friend can easily stir up conflict, causing stress and discord in our lives and among our other relationships.
4. A Lazy Friend Can Influence Poor Work Ethic
The Bible often speaks against laziness and encourages hard work and diligence. Associating with lazy friends can influence our work ethic negatively, leading us to adopt unproductive habits. Proverbs 6:6-9 (NKJV) encourages us to learn from the industriousness of the ant: “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” A lazy friend can hinder our progress in various aspects of our lives, including our spiritual growth.
5. A Worldly Friend Can Distract from Godly Living
The Bible cautions us against forming friendships with those who prioritize worldly pleasures over Godly living. 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NKJV) states, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.'” A worldly friend may encourage us to engage in activities that do not align with our faith, making it challenging to remain focused on our spiritual journey.
6. A Jealous Friend Envy Success
Jealousy and envy can be detrimental to our friendships, as they can breed resentment and animosity. Proverbs 14:30 (NKJV) states, “A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.” A jealous friend may struggle to be genuinely happy for our successes, and their envy can slowly erode the foundation of the relationship.
7. A Selfish Friend Puts Their Needs First
The Bible teaches us to put others before ourselves, emphasizing the importance of selflessness in our relationships. Philippians 2:3 (NKJV) instructs, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” A selfish friend may prioritize their needs and desires over ours, creating imbalance and tension within the friendship.
As we reflect on the qualities of a good and bad friend according to the Bible, it is essential to evaluate our friendships and ensure they align with our faith and values. Cultivating godly friendships is crucial to our spiritual growth and overall well-being.
Remember to love unconditionally, encourage spiritual growth, offer godly counsel, be trustworthy, show empathy, accept correction, and bear burdens in your friendships. Simultaneously, be cautious of dishonesty, foolishness, hot-tempered individuals, laziness, worldly influences, jealousy, and selfishness in your relationships.
By seeking friends who possess good qualities and avoiding those with bad qualities, we can strengthen our relationship with God and live fulfilling lives that glorify Him. As Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV) states, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Let us strive to be that kind of friend, following Christ’s example and reflecting His love in our friendships.
Furthermore, it is essential to remember that none of us are perfect, and we all have our flaws. As we seek to cultivate godly friendships, we should also strive to grow in our character and personal relationship with God. As we mature spiritually, we will become better friends to those around us.
In closing, cherish the friendships that bring you closer to God, and be willing to let go of those that hinder your spiritual growth. Be the kind of friend that exemplifies Christ’s love, and surround yourself with friends who do the same. In doing so, you will not only strengthen your walk with the Lord but also be a light to others, inspiring them to grow in their faith as well.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NKJV)