Women seem to devour relationship advice. And there's lots of it out there--columns, books, shows. Since women find relationships a valuable ingredient to a fulfilling life most relationship advice is written for women.
The relationship we find most worthy is that of friendship. True friends share joys, blessings, challenges, and struggles of life. These treasured friends cannot be bought, swayed, or scared away.
The main question about relationships is two sided. First, how do
I get friends like these? And even better, how do I become a friend
like this? To answer these questions, we will study God's relationship
God through His Word, the Bible, gives us relationship advice that warns us of relationships to avoid and to treasure. Words can destroy or build a friendship.
The fake friend painfully uses words not for her friend’s best, but her own needs to feel important, get attention, and manipulate situations. Often when she is confronted, she’ll avoid admitting her failings or shift the blame to you.
A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
She may gossip, taking things said in confidence and telling others. Often this is in the guise of “prayer need”, “just so you’ll know what she’s going through”, or “I don’t know what to say to this person about…” Nothing needs to be said about the nastiness of gossip. We all remember the grade school crisis of a secret shared. It is no less painful as we get older. We must take warning if others can not trust her to keep confidence; our private matters will also become public.
He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
A fake friend may be the middleman, a double spy, using inflammatory words to get a response from both sides. Or she may repeat a wrong to get sympathy. Things best left to dusty history are displayed as current events.
If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:
These passages give us a clue to identifying this fake friend. The Deuteronomy passage describes her words as “secretly” and the Proverbs passage describes her planned action as “privily”. We should be wary of someone who habitually shields their actions and words. A real friend will not lead us astray. When we know what is right we can trust her to help us to do it. And when we are confused we must be able to trust her to guide us right. Therefore if she tempts us to do wrong in obvious things we can not trust her to help us when we are weak.
Now, let's look at some biblical relationship advice regarding a godly friend.
This friend strengthens me When she speaks, I should listen. She chooses and uses her words wisely.
Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.
A friend’s genuine concern, counsel and compliments can change my day and life. Scriptural advice can lead me in a different direction.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
A friend can be trusted to act in my best interest. Sometimes this means saying things that are painful to hear. When I am wrong, and must be told, I can trust my friend’s methods and motives. Gently she will lead me closer to God. The wounds of a true friend are painful but for my best.
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
When we debate a situation, Scripture, candidate, or whatever, the interchange strengthens us both. Past study, experience and conversations of true friends give insight worth having.
A relationship will be affected by words. Wise words bless a
relationship and imprudent words are the land mines of friendship. What
kind of words do you use?