Don’t brag about tomorrow,
since you don’t know what the day will bring.
Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth—
a stranger, not your own lips.
A stone is heavy and sand is weighty,
but the resentment caused by a fool is even heavier.
Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood,
but jealousy is even more dangerous.
An open rebuke
is better than hidden love!
Wounds from a sincere friend
are better than many kisses from an enemy.
The heartfelt counsel of a friend
is as sweet as perfume and incense.
Never abandon a friend—
either yours or your father’s.
When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance.
It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away.
As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:1-6, 9-10, and 17
Last posting we talked about allowing our friends to brag on us, and four things that can destroy our friendships. This week we will discuss three strategies that will help build our friendships. The first one is a tough one, but one that can be appreciated in the spirit in which it is given. We need to be real with our friends. That sometimes can be a tough thing to take, but if we do it with tact, we can be encouraging instead of discouraging. Sometimes we have to give our friends time to swallow what we give them. The important thing is not to be so negative that we tear them down. You want to build your friend up, not tear them down, and bring them to resentment. The important thing is that if they think half as much for you as you do for them then they will take it in the right way. We shouldn’t have to be fearful of being real and telling them we really feel. Remember, politicians are the ones that smile and say your great to your face, but when you are gone really share what they feel. Don’t be a politician.
Be real with them and then be loving and understanding. I always talk about unconditional love and how we don’t put conditions on our love because God doesn’t put conditions on His love for us. Giving council to your friend doesn’t always mean giving advice, it means crying with them if they need comfort, listening to them if they need someone to listen to them. God made us friends to give each other strength to endure this tough life sometimes. Be loving and understanding for your friends, sometimes it can be an emotional thing, but God created emotion for a reason.
Be real with them, be loving and understanding and never ever abandon them. Don’t be a fair weather friend, don’t be there for just the good times, be there for loss, for failure, for the hard times. Show that you really truly care by being there for them anyway possible. Sometimes they may want some space, give it to them, but don’t leave them completely alone. Give them a call, a text to show you are there for them when they are ready to see you. Don’t get offended if they won’t see you, sometimes grief can be a lonely thing, but knowing that we have someone to turn to later gives them strength.
If we are real with our friends, are loving and understanding, and never abandon them when they need us we will build iron clad relationships that will last until death. Iron sharpens iron as a friend sharpens a friend. Be that ironclad friend Solomon talks about, that is wisdom that can give us the strength we need to make it through this tough life.
Make a comment about your close friendships; have you done any of these strategies?
© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.