Summer is almost upon us, and for many children and students that means more time to spend with friends. As any adult knows and has experienced, these friendships offer great potential as well as great dangers for our children and youth. Therefore, it is important for us to make sure that our children have a biblical view of friendship...
- a view that recognizes friendships are a wonderful gift from God and are also intended to help and encourage us to better know and trust in Jesus and walk in His truth.
- a view that warns us against friendships that may hinder our growth in godliness.
Consider the following verses from Proverbs that illustrate both the gift of friendship and the warnings against unwise friendships:
13:20—Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
17:17a—A friend loves at all times,
18:24—A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
22:24-25—Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man,
lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.
27:9—Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.
This summer might be a good time to help your children—
especially older ones—
examine their hearts and evaluate their friendships. You could start by reading together the verses listed above and also verses that describe God's desire for how we are to relate to one another. For example,
Romans 12:10—Love one another
Romans 15:14—Instruct one another
2 Corinthians 13:11—Comfort one another
Galatians 5:13—Serve one another
Galatians 6:2—Bear one another's burdens
Ephesians 4:32—Be kind to and forgive one another
Colossians 3:9—Do not lie to one another
1 Thessalonians 5:11—Encourage and build up one another
1 Thessalonians 5:15—Do good to one another
James 5:16—Pray for one another
Next, ask some of the following questions to initiate further discussion:
- Do you tend to choose your friends casually, or carefully? What kind of qualities do you look for in a friend? Are these the right guidelines to use?
- What kinds of conversations and activities characterize your friendships?
- Do you think that you are being influenced toward godliness by most of your friends?
- Do you thank God for the friends who have helped you to grow in godliness? In turn, are you encouraging these friends to grow in godliness? In what ways?
- Are there any things you see in your friendships that need change or improvement? What practical steps can you take this week to make progress in this area?
- Are any of your friends acting as "snares" in your life? Are you acting as a "snare" to any of your friends? How would Jesus want you to be transformed in this area of your life?
- Do you ask for your parents’ counsel in evaluating your friendships? Do you heed their advice?
- How might being a friend to a non-Christian help you to grow in your own trust and love for Jesus? How can your parents help guide you in how you might carefully do this?