God created friendship. And He works through true, meaningful relationships to help us be all He intends. As we learned in Monday’s post, we need to first clear the hindrances to friendship. But what’s next?
The following principles for making and keeping real friends come straight from Scripture. Use them as a guideline as you purposefully work to make good friends and be a good friend.
11 Biblical Principles for Making and Keeping Friendships
- Take the initiative (Acts 18:1-4) – One of my closest, life-long friends picked me to be her friend before I was really even aware of her. Janet and her family were new to our city, so when they joined our church she wanted to make friends. She introduced herself to me and immediately began to pursue a friendship. Janet taught me to take the initiative. Yes, it can be risky, but the rewards can be great!
- Practice forgiveness (Colossians 3:13) – True friends don’t hold grudges or remember offenses. Instead they are flexible and quick to forgive. Contemplating God’s forgiveness can help us when we struggle to forgive others.
- Guard your tongue (Proverbs 16:28, Ephesians 4:29) – Loose lips ruin many friendships. Careless words hurt feelings. Gossip fosters division. Confidences broken destroy trust. Before we speak, let’s pause to consider whether our words will tear down or build up.
- Be a “good” friend (Ephesians 4:2-3) – Christ-like character fosters deep, long-lasting friendships. Qualities like humility, gentleness, patience, and endurance create a solid foundation on which to build life-long friendships.
- Extend hospitality (1 Peter 4:9, Proverbs 25:17) – Sometimes we are quick to accept hospitality, but a little slower to give it. Let’s make time to not only invite our friends to our homes, but to also make them feel welcome. On the flip side, Proverbs 25:17 warns us against taking advantage of our friend’s hospitality.
- Stay close in hard times (Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 27:10, Romans 12:10) – A true friend remains loyal when trouble comes. Even if other “friends” fall away they stay devoted and help in any way possible.
- Nurture them (Ephesians 5:21, Philippians 2:3-4, Romans 12:10) – Friendships will wither without a continual outpouring of time, attention, and resources. Let’s show our friends we care about their needs and their interests with purposeful acts of kindness and generosity. Our friendships will flourish.
- Listen to them (James 1:19) – It takes lots of practice to keep our mouths closed and really hear what others are saying. But this habit is well worth developing. When others feel “heard” they feel valued.
- Sharpen them (Proverbs 27:6, Proverbs 27:17, Colossians 3:16, Hebrews 10:24) – The best kind of friend is not merely a “yes man.” Godly friends nudge others closer to Jesus.
- Pray for them (Job 16:20-21) – Our friends need our purposeful prayer support. Not just casual, occasional prayers, but fervent intercession with God on their behalf.
- Love them (John 13:34, John 15:3, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 1 John 4:7) – This is actually harder than we might think. God calls us to love our friends like Jesus loves us – not in mere words, but with intentional actions of love that may often cost us something.
Have you seen any principles in Scripture to add to this list? Feel free to comment!