“True and intimate friends look out for each other’s welfare. (Part 2)
As believers, we should reserve our intimate friendships for other believers, because then we are mutually committed to helping each other live and walk in the will and purpose of God and to develop godly “character. This does not mean that we should not cultivate friendly relationships with non-believers. How else can we influence them for Christ? It does mean that we should remember that no matter how much we may have in common with our non-believing friends in the areas of interests, hobbies, and the like, we are on completely different planes spiritually. Our intimate friends should be people who are seeking the Kingdom of God just as we are.
One characteristic of true intimacy is the capacity to both give and receive correction with grace and appreciation. Intimate friends love each other enough not to let sin, errors, or wrong direction go uncorrected. They respect and trust each other enough to receive correction without resentment or suspicion. Intimate friends are comfortable in the knowledge that they are committed to each other’s welfare and greatest good. “Intimate friendship carries with it the mutual responsibility of open honesty with “discretion. Openness is essential to intimacy, but true friends will carefully guard each other’s confidences. There are some things we can tell our dearest friends that no one else needs to know.
Here are some practical steps we can take to become good intimate friends. First, be ready, willing, and available to give our friends comfort and support during their times of trial and sorrow. At the same time, we should be just as ready to rejoice with them in times of success and prosperity. It has been said that shared sorrow is halved while shared joy is doubled. Friends support each other in joy or sorrow, in good times or bad.
Second, we should assume a measure of personal responsibility for our friends’ reputations. We should be jealous for the integrity of their good name and quick to defend them from criticism or attack. If criticism and correction are justifiable, we should do it privately and in a manner that preserves our friends’ dignity and honor. “Third, we need to be sensitive to traits and attitudes that need improvement, not only in our friends’ lives, but also in our own. If we are committed to personal character development, we must be open to ways to improve “and help our friends in the same way.
vision, purpose, destiny,