Keeping company with wise friends, who are both loyal and candid, leads to unity, restoration, and life.
Scripture: Proverbs 1:8-19
- Proverbs instructs us in how to relate wisely to neighbours, co-workers, and friends.
- Friends are people with whom we have chosen to have a close relationship.
- We all need to have friends. The anti-social person is often arrogant and selfish (cf. Pr. 18:1).
- Proverbs also warns against trying to be popular and seeking to have many friends (Pr. 18:24).
- Proverbs instructs us to choose our friends wisely. Our friends should influence us toward ethical behaviour, not toward evil (cf. Pr. 6:12-15).
- Anger and a loose tongue are signs of a wicked person. Hanging around angry people will eventually make you angry (Pr. 22:24-25).
- Scoffing, gossip and flattery spread discord; the arrogant person talks a lot, and creates contention (Pr. 22:10-11).
- Correcting a scoffer only invites harm to yourself (Pr. 9:8).
- A true friend will not enjoy hearing gossip, i.e., bad reports about others (Pr. 18:8; 16:28).
- A flattering mouth is intended to work evil. Flattery is a form of manipulation and it quickly rings hollow (Pr. 26:24-25, 28; 29:5).
- Avoid angry men, flatterers and scoffers who cause conflict and discord among friends (Pr. 6:12-15).
- We should seek friends among the wise. Good friends are both loyal and candid.
- A loyal friend overlooks offenses and covers them over rather than exposing them (Pr. 11:12-13; 10:12; 19:11).
- We are to imitate God in covering offenses (Micah 7:18).
- The Hebrew word hesed denotes a loyal steadfast love, expressed in kindness and mercy.
- Barnabas was a loyal friend, a son of encouragement.
- A candid friend will rebuke and correct you as needed (Pr. 27:5-6). Wounds and rebukes hurt, but they sanctify (Pr. 20:30). If we are wise we will receive correction (Pr. 15:31-33).
- If you are deeply irritated when you receive an appropriate rebuke, then you are a fool (Pr. 15:12). Willingness to receive a rebuke indicates humility.
- A close friend is willing to rebuke and correct as needed.
- Hanging out in the company of fools leads to destruction and death.
- Keeping company with wise friends leads to unity, restoration, peace, and life (Pr. 13:14).
- Jesus is the faithful friend who calls sinners to repent and who has offered love, kindness and mercy in the cross (cf. Matt. 11:19).
- When we turn to Jesus we will find life, restoration and wisdom (Pr. 13:14).
- Define what a friend is according to Proverbs.
- What kind of people should we choose as friends?
- What is the effect of hanging out with foolish and immoral friends?
- How have your friends influenced you? How have you influenced your friends?
- Are you a loyal friend if you are unwilling to graciously offer a needful rebuke?
- How do you respond to a rebuke or word of correction from a friend?
- How can we begin building friendships based on wisdom?
- Are you a friend that sticks closer than a brother?