Day 32: Friendship
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
In kindergarten, one of my sons made a new friend named Chon-Chon. “That’s an interesting name,” I commented, “Is that a nickname? Is he ethnic?”
My son answered innocently, “I don’t know,” and proceeded to share about all the games he played with Chon-Chon. Every day, he would bring home a new story: “Chon-Chon said this. Chon-Chon did that.”
These tales went on for several weeks until we finally learned from the school that there was no child enrolled by the name of Chon-Chon. My son had invented an imaginary friend. Now certainly good friends are hard to find, yet not so impossible that your children must make them up.
Proverbs exhorts you to . . .
Proverbs exhorts you to find friends who will help you avoid folly (Prov. 18:1) and lovingly confront you with the truth: “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (27:5-6; Eph. 4:25). Good friends strengthen you when you are anxious (Prov. 12:25) and speak words of healing (12:18b; 18:12a). They see your intimate struggles while still keeping your confidence (11:13) and they minister godly counsel: “The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out” (20:5; Rom. 15:14). By knowing you and knowing God’s Word, they bring the two together: “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel” (Prov. 27:9). Good friends ultimately help you better worship the God in whose image you were made (Gen. 1:27). They sharpen you like iron (Prov. 27:17) and compel you to love Christ more. A good friend will never abandon you (17:17), but will always seek your good: “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (18:24). Thus it is better to cultivate a few good friendships, than to collect a multitude of shallow ones (13:20).
Dads, counsel your children to choose friends wisely, but also to forgive offenses (Col. 3:13). Even good friends can sometimes be selfish or mean, insensitive or rude. At other times, your child may be the unfaithful one. He may use others for personal gain instead of loving them well (Prov. 6:12-14). She may speak unkindly about her peers (10:18). For this reason, God sent his Son to live a perfect life and die a sacrificial death for sinners. Through Christ, your sinful child can be forgiven and brought into right relationship with God (1 John 1:3). As Jesus himself declared, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:13). Jesus himself calls us friends, though at one time we hated him and wanted nothing to do with him (Rom. 5:10). Dads, teach this gospel of friendship to your children, so that they become faithful friends who model Christ’s love.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Forgive me of times when I have not been a faithful friend and remind me of your grace and mercy in my own life. Help me to guide my children to wisely choose their friends and to navigate the complex challenges of social interaction. May they be good friends to others by modeling the friendship of Christ. In your Son’s name, Amen.
LifeWork: Write down one way you will apply today’s Proverb.
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