No Greater Love (Week 1) – Part 3

Choosing Good Friends

Proverbs 13:20 reads:

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

In our first post, we talked about binding ourselves to truth and kindness, for friendship’s sake. But we should also understand Paul’s words about being unequally yoked to understand this concept.

2 Corinthians 6:14:

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” By the way this actually has to do with morality, not marriage. 

Similarly, Proverbs 22:24-25 says:

“Do not associate with a man given to anger, or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself.”

Finally, 1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:33‬:

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’”

What we are looking for in a friend is one who is wise, temperate, righteous (in the correct sense)—submitted to King Jesus. The consequence of refusing to heed these admonitions is actually a corruption of sorts. It’s being pulled in the wrong direction under the unequal weight of an ill-fitting yoke. It’s being given to anger. Being given to a hot-temper. Being given to self rather than to God and others.

What we are looking for in a friend is one who is wise, temperate, righteous (in the correct sense)—submitted to King Jesus. Click To Tweet

This is one of the harder aspects of friendship. All too often we take whoever comes along. And I know what you’re thinking; didn’t you just say that God gave us our neighbors to befriend? Yes, he does and yes, I did say that. But that’s not the only friends we have. In the case of our neighbor, we are in many ways being sanctified. We are being taught how to be better friends and more Christ-like in our love. When it comes to the choice of friends, we should look for wise and temperate people. We should look for the character we discovered earlier. 

Last thing on choosing a friend. Proverbs 23:6-8 says:

“Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies; for as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten, and waste your compliments.”

Choosing people who are for you and not for themselves is key in all of this. In relationships there are givers and takers. And at times we’ve all been too much of each. This is not fully the problem. The problem occurs when someone is just using us. When someone is selfish. We must look for friends that are others-focused.

In this instruction am I contradicting myself from what I’ve taught in times past? That you can’t and even shouldn’t remove negative people from your life? I’m not. Instead I’m simply saying you need to know who they are in your life. They may simply not be friends. But they must at least be the objects of mercy—people you love even though they are hard to handle. As Christians we are given one command—love! We are given many recipients: love friends, love neighbors, love even our enemies.

Let’s Talk

After reviewing God’s word on the matter, how do your friendship measure up? Comment below or email me at nathan@nathanfranckhauser.com.

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