Proverbs 18:24, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Friends can either bring you down or lift you up. What kind of friends do you want? Do you want the kind of friends that are only looking out for themselves and when times get tough they are no where to be found? Or do you want a friend that sticks closer to you than a brother?
Often times the above proverb is only used as an analogy for Jesus- that He is our true friend that sticks closer than a brother, John 15:13. Though it is true that Jesus is our friend that sticks closer than a brother, He is not the only friend we can have in life that is loyal.
King Solomon is specifically referring to earthly friends that can be very close to you in life and love you like a brother/sister (sibling) and there are other kinds of friends who can be unfaithful and cause you great harm. Thus, for me this proverb brings to mind the “circle of friends” lesson I was taught a while ago by a great pastor.
Imagine a circle with four smaller circles on the inside. As each inner circle gets closer to the center it gets smaller. The first and biggest circle of friendship is called, “acquaintances.” These are the kind of friends you may meet on the job, your gym, facebook, or at church but don’t really have a relationship with them. Now imagine the next circle of friendship is called, “companions.” These are the kind of friends you occasionally share your life together with but aren’t really close to.
The next smaller circle is, “close friends.” These are the kind of friends that you regularly spend time with. When you have a success or failure they are the first ones you call. And lastly, the smallest circle of friendship in the center is called, “intimate friends.” These are the kind of friends that are like a brother/sister to you. You may only have 1 or 2 at a time and most people only have a few in their entire life because it takes so long to develop this kind of friendship.
The powerful lesson from the “circle of friends” is to know who each friend is in your life and to make sure they’re in the right circle. If you have a “close friend” that is continually unreliable and untrustworthy the best thing to do is place them either in the “acquaintance or companion circle” because they will only let you down when you really need them.
Also, sometimes people in your life change circles because of growing older, changing interests, and availability. The best thing you can do is give them the “gift of goodbye.” Which is basically giving them “permission” to not be as involved in your life moving forward as they once were
In conclusion, everyone needs good friends. Therefore, make sure you choose the right kind of friends and have them in the right place in your life. At the same time, remember to be the best kind of friend you can be in other’s circle of friendship!
- Do you have a friend that is as close to you as a sibling?
- Are you someone else’s inanimate friend?
- Ask God to make you a reliable friend.