In this series on the book of Proverbs, we are looking at godly wisdom. Last week, we learned that words are powerful. The truth, timing, tone, and trajectory of our words determine the direction of our lives and greatly affect the relationships around us.
This week, we look at how to succeed in friendships. Building upon what we have learned about Words to help relationships succeed, we add to that, five simple truths from Proverbs that will bring friendship with one another to the next level.
Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” One measure of success is having true friends.
Note: Lifegroup facilitators, you may not have time to cover all questions. You may select some questions from the list below or take time to cover the questions over two meetings.
a. What is your idea of an ideal friend? What are some expectations you have of an ideal friendship?
b. What has been the hardest thing about making friends in your life?
a. A true friend shows up. Read Proverbs 17:17 and 18:24.
i. What do you understand from these key phrases about a friend who,
• “Loves at all times”
• “Is born for adversity”
• “Sticks (also to mean cleaving and clinging) closer than a brother”
ii. The above traits are exemplified in Jonathan and David’s friendship (refer to 1 Sam 18:1-5). How do these kinds of friendships develop?
iii. Proverbs 18 also talks about several kinds of people we should avoid. Read up on these verses and discuss.
• Proverbs 18:1-2
• Proverbs 18:8
• Proverbs 18:13
• Proverbs 18:19
b. A true friend opens up. Read Proverbs 28:13 and 27:5-6.
i. Being transparent and authentic requires some risk. How can we be wise in this area?
ii. Why do you think “open rebuke” and “wounds of a friend” are better than “hidden love”? Provide examples.
c. A true friend matches up. Read Proverbs 25:20, 27:14 and Philippians 2:20 (Paul speaking about Timothy).
i. A true friend knows how to meet your emotional needs. Do you have friends that know you that well? And do you try to be that kind of friend? This takes time as well as thoughtfulness.
d. A true friend raises one up. Read Proverbs 12:18, 13:20, 25:23 and Romans 14:19.
i. From last week’s sermon, we learned that our words have tremendous power. What does it mean to tear someone down or to backbite?
ii. How can we use our words to raise someone up? Share examples.
e. A true friend forgives another who has messed up. Read Proverbs 27:6 and Colossians 3:12-14.
i. The pain of conviction that comes through the godly rebuke of a friend who speaks truth in love is a real gift (Proverbs 27:6). But if you are hurt by a friend, intentionally or unintentionally. How do you address it with him/her?
ii. How do you move past the pain and toward reconciliation?
a. How does having Jesus as the ultimate friend help us to pursue and build friendship with one another?
WHAT WOULD YOU DO
The theme of friendship weaves through the whole storyline of Scripture, climaxing at the cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus left the glory of his Father to enter into our mess. He died on a cross for our sins to win a family of brothers and sisters who would be willing to live for the glory of God, who would love each other enough to die for each other. We need to learn to see every friendship through the lens of the work of Christ on our behalf.
Do you consider yourself a true friend to others? Why or why not? Looking at the 5 truths, what can you improve upon?
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” ~ Proverbs 18:24 ESV