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with Huey Dedmon
Proverbs 22:24-25; 17:14,19; 26:21; 25:19; 13:20; 14:17,22,29; 15:18; 16:32; 19:11; 3:3-4; 16:6; 20:6; 10:12; 11:17; 15:17; 17:17; 18:24; 27:9
Our lesson from Proverbs this week seeks to show us how to build Godly friendships in our lives. We are all familiar with the quotation from a poem by John Donne: “No man is an island.” The truth that this quotation captures is a truth that is at the very heart of who we are. God created us to be relational or to have relationships in our lives. He created Adam and knew he needed Eve to fulfill this need for relationships in life. We all need friends in our lives. Through these relationships we are encouraged, motivated, and influenced to do good things or bad things with our lives. Proverbs teaches us that God expects us to forge Godly relationships in our lives that will encourage, motivate, and influence us to do good things for Him. The wisdom to forge those kinds of relationships is highlighted in the book of Proverbs and many other passages in the Bible. Proverbs also reminds us that there can be friction in even the best relationships, and we must learn to deal with it in a Godly manner.
We have all heard the phrase, “If you want good friends, you must be a good friend.” To be a good friend we must always consider the consequences of our behavior among our friends. The way we act can cause problems in our relationships or can strengthen those relationships. The thing we must always consider is what kind of influence we are having on our friends and what kind of influence they are having on us. The person who desires to live a life of Godly wisdom will consider the consequences of his behavior and whether it is moving people toward God or away from Him. The mission of the believer is the same as the mission of Jesus, and that is to “seek and save the lost.” While we know that Jesus is the one who saves, it is our job to always point people to Him.
All of us have lost our patience with someone or we have witnessed someone else having the same experience. We live in such a fast paced world that it is hard not to lose our patience in many situations. The other day I went by the car wash to rid my truck of the coat of pollen that had fallen on it. I put my money in and instantly I was drenched from the waist down by a busted hose on the cleaning wand. I threw the wand to the ground and yelled’ “Why can’t people keep their equipment in good working order?” As my voice rebounded off the wash bay walls, I realized I was standing right next to an outdoor eating establishment. I looked over to see if anyone was looking at me, because if they were, they had heard me. I am a Christian and am known by many in my community. In one act of anger and frustration I had possibly damaged my witness in our community. Proverbs reminds us to cultivate patience in our relationships. Our moments of lost patience can permanently ruin our chance to be a witness to friends and family. We can build and cultivate Godly friendships and relationships when we practice patience in those relationships.
Anytime we have a discussion about friendships, the importance of being a loving, loyal friend rises quickly to the surface. When these two aspects of a relationship are weakened or destroyed, the relationship is weakened or destroyed. To be a true friend we must make it a priority to communicate our love toward our friends. We do that through our actions, body language and speech. Loyalty is expressed in much the same manner, but for me carries the idea that we are there with them during a time of need. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a difficult time.”(HCSB) When we demonstrate love and loyalty to our friends, we are forging strong relationships with them and we are demonstrating Godly wisdom through our lives. Remember also that even when our earthly relationships fail, we have a friend who sticks closer than a brother!(18:24)
Dedmon is Associate Pastor for Education and Outreach, Brandon Church, Brandon.