The Gift of Friendships

True friendships honor God.

“Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like the anointing oil that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence”—Proverbs 27:9 (TPT).

“What are we celebrating today, ladies?”

When our waitress asked this question, I immediately said, “Our friendship.”

“That’s a good thing to celebrate,” she replied.

For over 12 years, I’ve been friends with a woman whom I call my soul sister. We are not related by human blood, but by the blood of Jesus Christ. I met Clarice in 2005 when she was a newspaper editor and I was seeking freelance jobs.

Since that time, our friendship has grown, forged on a foundation of faith, trust and love. As sisters-in-Christ, our thoughts, feelings and attitudes about life closely match, even though our family backgrounds are vastly different. But, when relationships are based on following Christ, they bloom into blessings, regardless of our differences.

Francois de La Rochefoucauld, 17th century French writer, said, “A true friend is the greatest of all blessings.”

In today’s social media world, the word, “friends,” has taken on different meanings. I have almost 5,000 Facebook “friends.” I value each and every connection; however, online friendships by nature of the connection do not always lead to deep authentic bonding experiences.

While many online friends respond to my Christian posts on Facebook—and I am privileged to respond to theirs, our relationships are confined to two-dimensional words and sometimes photos or video posts. I may never truly “know” many of my thousands of Facebook friends in the same way I know Clarice.

When I am going through trials, or one of my friends is experiencing difficulties in their lives, we share our troubles over lunch, ask for prayer in a phone call and encourage one another with old-fashioned greeting cards. Maybe it’s our age bracket, but we seldom post our struggles online.

Still, others like to share their personal troubles with the world through Facebook and other social media outlets. My experience has been it brings attention, not necessarily solutions.

Scripture offers us guidance when it comes to choosing friends and that was before the advent of social media. While God knows our desire to be known and loved, he made us for companionship. It’s nice to have caring friends on social media, but my greatest source of love, healing, joy and encouragement comes from the few in my close circle of Christian girlfriends.

Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”

British clergyman and writer Charles Kingsley once said, “A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend, one human soul whom we can trust utterly, who knows the best and worst of us, and who loves us in spite of all our faults.”

Close friends who love us in spite of our faults are indeed a blessing from God. Not only are these friendships a gift from our Creator for our enjoyment, but they “sharpen us as iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17).

True friendships honor God.

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