What are the hallmarks of a good friendship? What characteristics do you look for in a friend?
Often, the entryway into friendship is two people sharing a common interest. We enjoy being around others who like the same things we like, whether it’s a hobby, similar vocation, or even discovering we are both from the same small town. Another important bond in a friendship is loyalty. We all want friends who will stick by us when the going gets tough. We want friends who will keep our secrets a secret. And certainly, we want friends who will encourage us, cheer us on, and affirm us.
But do we ever look for friends who exhort us?
A Good Friend Exhorts
In our world, friends who tell us what we want to hear are valued. People prefer friends who flatter them. They want friends who will respond to a problem about a difficult decision in their life with, “You should do what makes you happy.” Friendship in our culture often involves mutual encouragement to sin.
Have you ever had a friend who whispered to you, “You have spinach stuck in your teeth?” Likely, you felt some embarrassment when you realized how long you’d gone with green flakes sticking out for the world to see every time you smiled. Yet, you were also probably grateful to your friend for pointing it out to you.
A good Christian friend will point out spiritual things to us we can’t see, such as sin and idolatry...
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