“A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend; one human soul whom we can trust utterly; who knows the best and the worst of us, and who loves us in spite of all our faults; who will speak the honest truth to us, while the world flatters us to our face, and laughs at us behind our back; who will give us counsel and reproof in the day of prosperity and self-conceit; but who, again, will comfort and encourage us in the day of difficulty and sorrow, when the world leaves us alone to fight our own battle as we can.”  ~Charles Kingsley
This is perhaps one of the single most accurate and eloquent descriptions of true friendship. People have lots of friends—work friends, school friends, church friends, Facebook friends—but whether you have 14 or 4000, one real, true friend is more valuable than all the rest.
Five influential friends at work=One promotion.
Four cool friends at school=One upgrade in popularity.
Three prominent friends at church=One spot on the worship team.
Two Facebook friends who start playing Bejeweled again=100,000 coins.
One true friend who loves you despite all your imperfections, who will call you out when you’re being an idiot, and who will stick with you through thick and thin=Priceless.
“A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17)
A True Friend Is…
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, “Love is patient and is kind; love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
By using this as a basis, we get a pretty good description of what a true friend should be.
A true friend is patient and is kind; a true friend doesn’t envy. A true friend doesn’t brag, is not proud, doesn’t behave inappropriately, doesn’t seek their own way, is not provoked, takes no account evil; doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. A true friend never fails.
And by process of elimination we know that a true friend does not betray you, does not stop loving you because of your faults, does not lie to you, does not laugh at you behind your back, does not remain silent when they see that you need advice or admonition, does not leave you in your time of need and mourning, is not impatient and unkind, doesn’t envy or brag, isn’t proud, doesn’t act inappropriately or always insist on their own way, isn’t provoked, and doesn’t admire evil.
According to Proverbs 13:20, “One who walks with wise men grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” And it’s true. We should choose our friends wisely because, for better or worse, they’ll have an impact on us. Yes, sometimes people make mistakes and we shouldn’t drop all of our friends like a pile of rocks at the first mistake they make. Everyone screws up once in a while, I know I do, but if a person persists in bad behavior despite being confronted about it repeatedly, it may be time to hit the “unfriend” button and the same is true for romantic relationships as well.
A true friend will help you be a better person, not drag you down.
So as the pastor asked one Sunday: Do you have that kind of friend? Are you that kind of friend?