Proverbs gives us foundational thoughts for friendship: “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.” (Prov 3:3-4) The Hebrew word translated as “kindness” is hesed, which is translated as love, mercy, but is used also as “loyalty to His covenant obligations”. The word communicates a steadfastness and consistency that is tied to God’s divine nature. Writing this on your heart carries the idea of engraving these concepts in stone so that they will always be true of your relationships.
Hesed love is the foundation of friendship and every relationship known to humanity. “Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.” (Prov 27:9)
God’s Word warns us to choose our friends wisely. “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Prov 13:20) If you spend a lot of time with wise people, you will learn from them and gain greater understanding. However, when you spend a lot of time with foolish people (those who do not fear the Lord), harm is surely the outcome.
Instead, if you choose wisely, you’ll find friends who are loyal and speak God’s truth in love. My dear friend Shar (that I lost recently) and I were friends who didn’t pat each other’s head, but we held up God’s Word for each other. “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Prov 27:17) The insinuation is that two people learning from each other and growing together are like two pieces of iron rubbing together, whereby both pieces become sharper. We need friends like that in our lives, and we need to be friends like that to someone else.
Lord, thank You for showing me the truth about love, so that I am able to love others because You first loved me. Thank You for those You’ve put in my path that are true, loving friends who are willing to hold up the truth of Your Word instead of agreeing with me when I am in error. I am blessed beyond my due, and I ask that You remind me that I’m not blessed with loving friends for my benefit alone. But all that You generously provide, Lord, is for the advancement of Your kingdom, and is only on loan to me. Thank You for that reminder today, Lord, because it puts in focus Your viewpoint and keeps me humble. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.