Steps to friendship
For reading & meditation - Proverbs 18
"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (v.24)
Everyone needs a small circle of friends - even those who are married. I feel deeply sorry for anyone who does not have a friend. If friendship is so important, how do we go about making friends? The first step is - be friendly. The King James Version of our text for today says: "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly." You should not, however, become friendly just in order to gain a friend. This is a wrong motive because you are more interested in gaining a friend than being a friend. Self-centeredness will get you nowhere. Friendliness is the art of going out of yourself and appreciating others more than you appreciate yourself. It is really an attitude. Dale Carnegie in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, a secular approach to the subject but full of good sense nevertheless, said, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you." The main reason why people have no friends is because they demonstrate an unfriendly attitude. To have a friend - be one. The second step is - allow time for friendships to develop. Force no doors open in friendship but, like Christ in the book of Revelation, stand reverently at the door - and knock. Only if the door is opened from within should you go through. Some relationships you have with people may never develop into close friendships. Don't be upset about that. If you are open and friendly, then God will guide you and show you where deep friendships are to be developed.
Father, help me be a friend who does the knocking before I enter instead of knocking down after I have left. And show me not only how to sympathize with my friends' weaknesses, but summon up their strength. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
For Further Study
1. How did Jesus show friendliness?
2. How did others view it?