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Friends are an important part of every teenager’s life. All teenagers have a group of friends they hang around with. However, being a true friend is not only having a few good friends you have fun with, it also involves people you don’t always hang around with, those who aren’t in your particular circle of friends. Friends are part of a Christian’s every day life. Friends are needed for encouragement, for someone to talk to, and for support.

Why are friends so important? Why can’t we just talk to a family member? A friend is a person who can be trusted with secrets. Friends will let you pour your heart out to them, and confide everything that is weighing down your mind. Friends understand problems in your life better than anyone else, because often they have gone through the same things you have. Friends are also good for advice, even if you don’t take it, and when you have a problem, there’s no one better than a friend to lean on for support.

Finally, friends are good for honest opinions. No one can give it to you straight better than a friend.

The Bible says in Proverbs 27: 6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” This passage teaches that a friend will tell you a painful fact with love, while an enemy will only do so with hate. The hurt felt from the pain will heal much faster if heard from a friend.

As Christians, it is important to have friends, but who should be our friends? We know we are called to be friends of our fellow Christians, but what about worldly, unbelieving sinners? We have to be examples to them, by being kind and considerate. We may be witnesses to them, and tell them about our faith and our Lord. We do not have to avoid talking to strangers because they may be worldly, but we can’t go to their houses and be their best friends. Some people think by being friends to worldly people they are helping the people become Christians and having a good effect on them, but it almost never works that way. Almost invariably the opposite will happen, and the worldly people will have an influence on the Christian. Instead, we must be separate from unbelievers. This is taught in Ezra 10:11, Where the Bible says, “Now therefore make confession unto the Lord God of your fathers and do his pleasure and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives.”

We must not only be friends to our fellow Christians, we have to be true, good friends. This can be done by being a good listener, encouraging them in the ways of the Lord, and by not backbiting and gossiping. This is shown in Proverbs 17:9, which says, “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” Proverbs 18:8 says, “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”

When our friends go astray, we are called to talk to them and try to bring them back. We have to talk to them and tell them where they are going wrong. If we become sinners and our friends come to us and tell us we have been sinning, we have to listen to what they are saying, and realize our sins. If our friends are in trouble we have to do all we can to get them out. We must be friends forever, through good times as well as bad. In Proverbs 18:24, the Psalmist writes, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend who sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loveth at all times.” When we find a true Chrittian friend we have to hold on to them and consider them very special because, as it says it Proverbs 20:6, “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?”

Finally, we must remember the example Christ gave for us on being a true friend. He tells us in John 15:15, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” Christ is our friend, one who loved us enough to die a slow and painful death so we would be saved, even though we didn’t deserve it. Christ forgives us for all the sins we commit against him, and Christ does not get angry at us. Paul speaks of Christ and his love for us in Romans 5:7&8, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In John 15:13, the greatest love a man can have is defined as following, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Think about that next time you are out with your friends. And also think about Christ as your friend, one who died for you. ❖

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Carrie is a student at Covenant Christian High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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