My two cousins and I go hunting every year, and it’s much nicer having them along versus going by myself. If I had to do it by myself, it would be hard, even impossible. From packing meat out to simply having someone to talk to, their being there strengthens it. (Ecclesiastes 4:12) Friends are very important and having the right kind of friends is essential. “A three-strand cord is not easily broken.” Having friends who follow God’s way strengthens us and keeps us from breaking. Having friends who we can discuss the bible with sharpens us in our walk with God (Proverbs 27:17).
Having good friends is a choice that each of us must make. It starts with choosing who we hang out with. You may think that by hanging out with the wrong crowd you will bring them into the Faith. Sadly, this is rarely the case. More often than not, the bad element will pull you away, rather than vice-versa (Proverbs 22:24, Psalms 26:4-5). The book of Proverbs is full of advice on the kind of friends we should be making, and how a true friend will act. How can you tell if someone would make a good friend? Observe them. How do they treat people? How do they act when they aren’t in church? How do they act when not around their parents? How do they treat their friends? How do they talk about their friends when they aren’t around? Do they put them down?
Choosing the right friends is important, but what if you have already chosen the wrong kind of friends? First, you should pray about it. Then, you should talk to your parents. If the friends are pulling you away from God, you should probably stop hanging out with them. This can be hard especially if you have been friends for a long time. It is something that must be done though, as our relationship with God should be the most important thing in our lives.
Does this mean that you can’t have any friends outside the Faith? Certainly not! There is nothing wrong with it, but you should not be making close friends outside the Church, because close friends have influence over us. If we have close friends inside the Church, they can help us when we stumble on our journey, and when things get rough (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). Just remember, when in doubt, read your bible, pray, and talk with your parents.
What about when we see one of our friends being pulled away by the wrong kind of friends? Go to them in private and talk to them (Proverbs 17:17, Mathew 18:15). Voice your concerns and advise them to talk to their parents. Help them as you can, but don’t let yourself be pulled away with them. Sometimes it will be one of your friends coming to you and pointing out something about your life that could use correction. Listen to what they have to say, compare it with the bible and see if what they are saying is true. Value the ones who love you enough to correct you (Proverbs 27:5, 27:9, 18:24). The friends we choose can either strengthen us or pull us away. Choose wisely.