I have done a good deal of reflecting on my friendships recently. When I think of the people that I consider my better friends there is on quality that I notice in all of them. All of the people I call my friend have the wonderful ability to overlook my failures and see things in me that they can love. I need friends like this. The Bible says, “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends” (Proverbs 17:9). Each of us has the opportunity to point out the faults of our friends, or choose not to focus on them. Which are you to the people who call you friend?
We were visiting friends from out of state, and I was telling them about my best friend growing up. I explained that we do not see each other as often now as we did when we were in school together. I then made the statement that if either of us needed anything, regardless of how long it had been since we had seen each other, we would do whatever it took to help the other one out. When you have a problem and a friend is needed, you need that friend to stand with us, not necessarily to give us advice, or correction. A true friend will certainly be aware of the faults and failures of their friend. A true friend, according to this verse will knowingly choose to be a friend rather than a critic.
Certainly there is a time to confront a friend with a sin, or harmful behavior that is observed, but even that is done from a position of wanting to help, not to judge. Let me encourage you to consider this truth as it relates to your friendships and relationships. It is always better to seek love than to point out each failure. When Jesus spoke with Peter on the shore after He had risen from the dead, He dealt with kindness toward Peter rather than criticism. Peter had denied that he knew the Lord three times just before His crucifixion. Jesus could easily have pointed out these three times, as well as the point that He had warned of this just hours before. Instead, Jesus chose to love Peter. He not only gave Peter a second opportunity to pledge his love to Him, He also gave Him a responsibility to become a leader in the early church. Jesus practiced exactly what this verse was teaching in the book of Proverbs. What kind of friend are you? Are your friends encouraged when you are around them, or do they dread your coming? Do you best to be an encouragement to your friends today.
“Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle.” – Helen Keller