Friday, February 24, 2023

The Loyal Friend (Proverbs 17:17; 18:24; 27:10)

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity" (Prov. 17:17).

It is probably safe to say that Christian parents are concerned about their children’s friendships. Many of them will regulate with whom their children can be friends, forbidding them to associate with unbelievers in an intimate fashion. They know that bad companions corrupt good morals, and they make sure their children stay away from those who may lead them astray—even those who are in the church.

While we hope Christian parents do at least this much to instruct their children about friends, how many teach their children how to be a friend? The Bible says a lot to about friendship, the love between intimate friends, their bond in Christ, and their commitment to one another. How many parents consciously teach their children from Scripture how to be good friends? They may warn their children about bad friendships, but children need more, we all do. We need to learn how to model Christ in friendship.

Today’s proverb gives us insight into one characteristic of a good friend that all people, young and old, do well to foster. That characteristic is loyalty. A true friend is one who sticks by you through good and bad. Such a friend stands by you when other more popular kids in school ignore you and talk about you. A good friend defends your name when others slander it. Most of us can testify to a time in our lives when we could have defended a good friend, but we didn’t because we were too concerned about what others would think of us. This is disloyalty.

A good friend also remains committed to you even when you’ve made serious mistakes. This friend doesn’t act “holier than thou” and cast you aside when you are struggling with sin. He helps you by carrying your burden with you.

We could give many examples of such faithful friends in Scripture—Ruth, Jonathan, John—but the best, the most perfect example, is Christ. He calls believers His friends. He loved us while we were still sinners. He sticks by us even when we fall, and helps us get up again. He sacrificed His own life that we might have life everlasting. Read the Scriptures, and discover what kind of friend Jesus is. Follow His example and teach your children how to be a good and loyal friend.

Read Ruth 1; 1 Samuel 20; 2 Kings 2:1–12; and John 15:9–17. If you have children, read these passages together. Describe the various characteristics of a true friend that you find in these passages. Discuss or think on your own about what kind of friend you are. Ask God to help you be a more loyal and loving friend.