They will make or break you and your children.
Why the Concern?
- We want to climb the spiritual ladder of spiritual success as a Christian, just as others spend many hours planning and working to climb the carnal ladder of professional success.
- Christian excellence is our goal, not mediocrity, but average Christian friends will ruin you.
- Recent events have caused us to consider child training and walking with God in the Spirit.
- We cannot accomplish any or all of these objectives without wisely managing our friends.
- God made it easy for Israel by ordering the annihilation of all worldlings (Ex 23:31-33; etc.).
- America has proverbs … you are the company you keep … birds of a feather flock together.
- You will never rise above your friends, without a miracle, for which we can never presume.
- A Christian closely associating with carnal Christians will be a carnal Christian, guaranteed!
- A Christian closely associating with contemporary Christians will lose convictions for truth.
- You cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit choosing Spirit-less friends (I Cor 6:20; II Cor 7:1).
- The Holy Spirit will be grieved and quenched by your choice to be around carnal worldlings.
Friends Can Be a Good Thing
- If wise men are your friends, they will pull you up by their wise words and lives (Pr 13:20).
- Paul exhorted the Philippians to observe and choose those saints most like him (Phil 3:17).
- A great friend by the Bible’s definition, even of your father, is worth protecting (Prov 27:10).
- Real friends are there for you when the going gets tough, not just in good times (Prov 17:17).
- Real friends can make your life better and more productive than being alone (Eccl 4:9-12).
- It is for these reasons that parents ought to direct a child toward friends that are spiritual and noble and direct them away from friends that will bring temptations to compromise manners.
Friends Can Be a Bad Thing
- Evil communications corrupted Corinth away from basic apostolic doctrine (I Cor 15:33).
- Blessings come on those who choose their friends carefully, rejecting worldlings (Ps 1:1-3).
- Solomon warned his son against the enticements of sinful friends (Proverbs 1:10; 4:14-17).
- Moses commanded to kill best friends, if they tried to seduce (Ex 32:25-29; Deut 13:6-10).
- The devil used Mrs. Job and Michal to destroy their husbands (Job 2:9-10; II Sam 6:20-23).
- Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom; the friends there corrupted his entire family (Gen 13:12).
- Dinah went to the mall to see the world’s girls, and Shechem seduced her (Genesis 34:1-2).
- It is for this reason that parents ought to direct a child away from friends that would be bad and direct them toward those friends that would lift them up and help perfect them in Christ.
- Parents should not allow or encourage weak children to befriend weak children, for it is the strong and the spiritual who must help and support the weak (Rom 15:1-2; Gal 6:1-2).
What Is Real Friendship?
- Why the question? Because the world has corrupted and diluted the definition of real friends.
- This question can be answered by another question and its answer, What is real love?
- Why the question? Because the world has confused the definition of love with that of lust.
- Real love and real friendship aim for perfection as measured by God’s standards for another.
- Real friendship involves rebukes and wounds as opposed to flattering fun (Proverbs 27:5-6).
- Real friendship has a common bond and purpose – fear, love, and faith in God (I Sam 23:16).
- Jehu and Jehonadab were great friends in ending Baal worship in Israel (II Kings 10:15-16).
- Friends have a purpose (Ec 4:9-12), and it may not include fun, listening, or understanding.
- Real friendship is constantly sharpening one another like iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17).
- Real friendship has a goal to win souls of those in error (Jas 5:19-20; Gal 6:1-2; I Thes 5:14).
- Real friendship is summed up this way: “Blood is thicker than blood,” meaning that a relationship based on Jesus Christ is superior to any relationship of human blood or family.
- Real friendship is being your brother’s keeper, in the sense of Gal 6:1-2 and James 5:19-20.
What Is a Real Friend?
- David chose his friends from those that feared God and kept His commandments (Ps 119:63).
- A real friend will stop you when you do something wrong in order to perfect you (Ps 141:5).
- How many of these friends are there? Very, very few. Jesus told us the same (Matt 7:12-14).
- A good man is the goal of real friendship. Loving good men shows great character (Tit 1:8).
- David rejected any that did not fear and obey God (Psalm 101:3-8; 24:1-5; 139:21-22).
- A real friend loves at all times, for he is born for adversity and trouble (Prov 17:17), which is why we ridicule fair weather friends, for they will leave when adversity or trouble arrives.
- A real friend is more than a person to have fun with, that listens, that “understands me,” or that “accepts me.” These are merely the sound bites of daydreaming, pubescent girls.
- Paul said the ones in a church we ought to follow and watch are like him (Phil 3:17-19).
- Should we look for perfect friends? Why not? David directed us to do so (Psalm 37:37).
- Do you mean I can only have godly, spiritual, and wise friends that will help me be a better Bible Christian? Duh. You are getting the message!
- Should you also ask, Do I have to wait until marriage for sex? Do I have to obey my parents?
- Friends agree on important issues, for two cannot walk together, if they disagree (Am 3:3).
How Do I Get More Friends?
- You must first have the character traits described here of real friends for others to want you.
- Then you must be gracious, which is the most winning character trait (Prov 11:16; 22:11).
- Then you must show yourself friendly, for you may be doing unfriendly things (Prov 18:24).
- But remember … you do not need many friends or even one friend … for you have the Lord!
How Should I Be Concerned?
- Parents are obligated by God to train children, including picking and rejecting their friends.
- Children are too foolish, immature, and inexperienced to be able to pick their own friends.
- Wise husbands will monitor their wives’ friends, in order to nourish and perfect them wisely.
- A wife’s friends will either improve her as a Christian wife, or divert her drive to virtue.
- A man carefully chose his wife’s friends, so another man decided to marry on his criteria.
- Friends are one of the five great inputs … Bible reading, prayer, friends, movies, and music.
- Do not be so gullible and lax that you assume conservative organizations afford great friends.
- Because you send your children to a Christian school does not mean all students qualify!
- Because you send your children to a homeschool association does not mean they qualify!
- Because you go to a conservative church does not mean all attendees or members qualify!
- This author met one of the most destructive “friends” at a retreat for Baptist pastors!
- Even in a peaceful and unified church, parents should wisely select children’s friends, with the same discrimination they qualify church members for marriage, wills, etc.
- Like marriage, you want to aim as high as you can spiritually in selecting a friend.
- Like marriage, children and youth are not wise enough to pick the best friends.
- Weak children need strong friends (Romans 15:1-2), faulty children spiritual (Gal 6:1-2).
- Schooling is one of the biggest parental decisions, for it creates a pool of friends for children.
- Most fuss occurs for kindergarten and first grade, but 6-year-olds are not corrupted much.
- Accelerating a child to a technical college exchanges high school peer pressure for adults.
- Classes at night in a technical school have very different students than during the day.
- Peer pressure exists between the ages of 12-20, where the greatest efforts must be made.
- Evangelism is an entirely different thing – Jesus sat with sinners? Repentant, and listening!
- Friendships depend on verbal exchanges! whether by words, phones, texts, emails, notes, etc., so parents must be vigilant and diligent to monitor all such forms of communication.
- Carefully consider the ages of children and their vulnerability to friends and peer pressure.
- A 6-year-old can easily be corrected from bad friends or peer pressure in hours or days.
- But a 16-year-old is a very different story, for the forces at work are much stronger.
- The 16-year-old craves friends, will sneak for friends, and often worships peer approval.
- Parents spend much to protect their 6-year-olds with the best schools they can find, but they often relax their standards for friends and peer pressure by the age of 16! Why? No!
For Further Study: