“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’” —Genesis 2:18
There has been study after study done on the benefits of social interactions. From living longer to improving health to fostering a purpose in life, these studies all conclude with the same message: “Don’t forget to connect.” Which is only confirming what God has said all along, starting in Gen. 2:18. Some people are prone to think, “I can make it on my own” or “I don’t need anyone else.” But God says, “You are not sufficient alone.” The Bible says a lot about friendship and how we should treat our friends.
Be caring: Take a moment to think about the benefits of having friends. Eccl. 4:9-12 says there’s intimacy, the sharing of life, assistance, comfort and defense. We see a perfect example of that in Acts 2:41-47, where the early Christians helped one another. They gave to one another. They got into each other’s lives. Invite others into your life and get into the lives of others.
Be loyal: Last week, we looked at the integrity of Joseph—a man who was loyal to Potiphar and to God. We must be people of loyalty as well. In the story of David and Jonathan (I Sam. 20), Jonathan was more concerned about his friend’s welfare and safety than gaining the kingdom, which he would have if David perished. That’s how powerful friendship can be.
Be helpful: There’s a saying that goes, “Flattery is like cotton candy—sweet, but not very nourishing.” We all like to hear compliments and praise. And there’s a time and a place for flattering words. But if all I’m receiving are flattering words, it’s not going to do me any good in the long run (Prov. 29:5). The prevailing thought in the world today is, If you’re my friend, you’re not going to judge me. But we need friends to point out our flaws and imperfections. And sometimes, the truth hurts. Paul says in Gal. 4:16, “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” If that person points out your fault, and does so in love (Eph. 4:15), they are exactly what you need and should want—a true friend.
Through this all, I encourage you to remember I Cor. 15:33: “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’” Your soul is too important. If someone is having a negative influence on you and bringing you down spiritually (Prov. 1:8-19), it’s time to draw the line. But there will be opportunities for us to teach and to lead (Titus 2:6-8). Standing up to friends can be hard. Peer pressure is very real, no matter the stage of life. But be strong. Be a positive, Godly example. Be someone who they would want to follow.