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Choosing Friends

Rev. Engelsma addressed himself to the topic of choosing friends by examining with us the grounds or foundation of friendship. For a Christian, there is but one foundation on which all friendships must be built – the foundation of Jesus Christ. On this basis we must seek all our friends: those “special friends”, i.e. those we court and perhaps intend some day to marry, but also those with whom we “hang around”, our every-day friends.

This foundation is one of love; we can love our friends because Christ first loved us – and so strong is that love that He made the sacrifice of His Son. This love, which is a bond of holiness, must be reflected in our personal friendships; these friendships must be holy, sanctified and pure. This love is the glue that must hold us to our personal friends as it holds us to Christ.

Any other ground on which a friendship might be based, is really no ground at all – there is no true friendship but a godly one.

Discussion in our group began with an exchange of ideas on the initial establishment of friendships – how to get started. First, we listed those things that attract us to a person: looks, personality, intelligence, talent, and a sense of humor. However, we decided that first impres­sions, though often lasting, don’t always paint the true picture of a person. A good

way to become well acquainted with a person is by way of conversation; not small talk, but a discussion of morals, principals, and of those things that we hold dear, a baring of the inner person, a heart-to-heart chat of what makes us tick. Our close friends, therefore will naturally be those who have the qualities we admire, and hold to the same values we do.

For most of us, marriage will be the closest friendship we have here on earth. It was brought to our attention the reality of how long the development of this true friendship takes. At marriage, young couples often hardly know each other, and after even fifty years of marriage, are still discovering new things about their spouses. Of course, when they marry, they may think they know each other, but they may spend the rest of their married lives marveling at how incompletely they actually were acquainted.

As in almost any discussion of friendship, the subject of peer pressure was examined. Though peer pressure isn’t always bad, it can lead us into things which we ought not to do, and probably wouldn’t do individually; blending into a group, we can also find ourselves losing our sense of identity, and excluding those who are misfits according to group standards. If we sense peer pressure in a friendship, we had better examine that friendship – is it founded on the right ground?

One of the questions found in the outline prompted a discussion about the desirability of a friend who agrees with everything we say and do. Aside from the obvious fact that such a relationship could become dull and tiring rather quickly, it was also noted that we need companions that will be quick to show us where we are going wrong, and to point us to the straight and narrow.

The final point of discussion was the establishment of “special” friendships. We concluded that building such relation­ships takes much time, and should be built up gradually. Only after such a stage of just getting to know each other can a romantic relationship start.

This was, I feel, a very suitable topic of discussion for us as a group of young people. Especially at a young people’s convention, much of our spare time is devoted to making new friends. More generally though, as young people, we face new and different environments as we go on to high school or college, or take up a new job or career. These new environments bring with them new ac­quaintances, some of whom are not the kind of friends we should have. And with marriage in the future for most of us, we should be prayerfully considering what godly qualities we must seek in a mate.

Following scriptural principles and founding all our friendships upon Christ, our confession will be: “I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts.”