I love the book of Proverbs, and for years I have read it daily and encouraged others to do the same. Reading through the Bible is a habit that I cannot and will not live without because it continues to change me, challenge me and confront me with what God says. Today is one such day.
It is the 27th of the month so I was reading Proverbs 27. Several verses came screaming my direction. Well, maybe not screaming at me, but each of these was a piece of something that God has been speaking to my heart about the last couple weeks as I ask myself if I am a good friend to the people who call me friend?
Lets take a look at the verses and then at some important thoughts:
5 An open rebuke is better than hidden love!
6 Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
9 The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.
10 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.
17 As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
Those are powerful fingerprints of our God. That is the way He acts in our lives, and this is the fingerprint or the way a good friend should love and share with their friends.
We should be honest. We should share truth and wisdom that builds a friend into a better person. We should be constant and let nothing break our friendships a part and help in times of need. We should sharpen each other even when sharpening is painful.
I want to be a friend like that, but this kind of friend pours or gives himself or herself to another person. There is unconditional love involved. Being a friend comes with a price. A friend is a person you are willing to stand with in the storm or in battle. This is a person you are willing to confront or be confronted by when something is wrong in our lives. Being a friend is hard but rewarding.
God brought this to my attention some weeks ago, and I came across a blog post by Ann Voskamp who is a gifted writer (read some of her blog at http://www.aholyexperience.com). In a recent post titled “4 Ways to be a Better Friend”, Ann shared some things we need to hear:
1. People are the Priority: What’s more of a priority than a person?
2. Live Maskless: Bare your faults and the foibles and messy laundry room. The only way to see into another soul — is to be transparent yourself.
3. Speak Life: Share freely of your feelings because this may just free us – of the prisons of protection we’ve bound ourselves in. Only speak words that make souls stronger — and speak ill of no one and well of everyone.
4. Get together: Put on the kettle. Set an extra plate at the table. Call her and ask her if she wants to go for walk. Write a letter. Pick up the phone. Get together in real life…
In the article Ann lead her readers in some other directions, yet I want to draw you and me back to this simple question: am I a friend? Not an easy question and not an easy thing to be. May God make us better friends.