The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. (Proverbs 12:26)
A friend is someone who remains close even when times are difficult. The wise man said a friend is always loyal and becomes like a brother. To have friends, one must himself be a friend who will make a person genuinely wealthy. Friends are the sweetness of a man’s soul giving hearty counsel. Like iron that sharpens iron, friends will hone the character of their fellow man. David and Jonathan were great friends. Jesus had close friends. Paul had men and women who were dear to him in his ministry of teaching the gospel of Christ. The joy of friends is the endearment of sharing the joys and sorrows of life. When the days are bright, friends warm the heart. As days of darkness overwhelm, a true friend will comfort and console. To have a friend is one of the most valuable commodities a man can possess.
With all the good things that can be said about friends, the influence of a friend can also be the worst thing that can happen to a person. The kind of friends a man gathers around him will influence the type of person he will become. Friendship is a close bond that seeks recognition and respect. God gives the warning of choosing friends to know some friends will not bring out the best in a man’s life. Having a friend is not always a good thing. Some people have no interest but their own and will use anyone for their purpose. They will fain friendship to gain the trust and then use that person to their destruction. Choosing friends takes wisdom. It takes courage to refuse those who desire to be friends that will not lead to righteousness.
There are many reasons why friends are chosen. Common interests draw people together. There may be connections within groups where friends draw close to one another. A common goal can create a circle of friends. The question the Christian must ask is if the friends that are in their life are there for righteous reasons or unrighteous. A wise man will choose his friends carefully. If a friend is chosen, who is wicked, the likelihood of the wicked causing the righteous to stray increases. When someone seeks out unrighteous friends, they are not seeking friendships based on doing the right thing. God is not at the center of their life. Wicked friends follow the paths of unrighteousness and will lead their friends along the same paths.
Choosing friends is not an easy task. There is a single virtue that is constant in seeking out friends. This is different than associates that become part of life as friends are closer than a brother and more influential than casual acquaintances. Having a friend is a person or persons that have a great deal of influence on the heart of the Christian. The most important question about choosing a friend is whether that person will help or hinder the Christian from being saved. Having friends is an integral part of life, but when those friends are not helping to live righteous lives, they are will hinder the growth of spirituality. Everyone wants to please their friends. God warns that choosing the wrong friends can have serious consequences. The rule is simple: The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray. You’ve got a friend indeed – but what kind of friend?