Wisdom About Friends
Your child will probably have scores of friends during their lifetime. What their friends do and say will impact your child’s life in some way. Will it be positive or negative? Will your child’s friends lead them toward or away from commitment to God? These are serious questions that will have a big impact on your child and on you.
The Apostle Paul warns Christians about the danger of anger and strife. Notice that strife is mentiond in the same breath with rioting, drunkenness, chambering, wantonness and envying. He goes on to say those bad character qualities are fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.
“Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:13-14
“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” 1 Corinthians 3:3
Look at other bad character qualities Paul mentions along with strife in this powerful verse from his second letter to the Corinthians. This is important spiritual business.
“For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.” 2 Corinthians 12:20-21
Here’s another tough list from the Apostle Paul.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
God does not tell us what not to be without telling us what He wants us to be. He inspired the Apostle Paul to write these amazing words of encouragement toward Christian character.
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:1-8
Christ is our highest example of righteous behavior. We should continually point our children toward Him for wisdom in every aspect of their lives.
One more note about choosing friends wisely. A bad friend is usually interested most in what people can do for them. They look for friends who can give them things they can’t afford on their own. A bad friend will dump a poor friend for a rich one without hesitation. Beware of that person.
“The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.” Proverbs 14:20
“Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour. A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape. Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.” Proverbs 19:4-6
Character makes the man or woman and that begins when they’re a child. Know the people who are having the greatest influence on your children. Teach your young people to know good character and bad character. Make that an important part of your teaching ministry with them. Show them what God says is good and what He says is bad. Help them see good character in themselves and others. Remind them what God says about good friendships and bad friendships. Encourage them to have the strength to say no to bad friends. Support them in their decision. Help them make good friendships that will benefit them for the rest of their life and for eternity.
As for the bad friend, they need to know Jesus Christ as their personal savior, or if saved, they need to obey God’s Word and do what He says is right. By no means does God want us to turn away from unsaved sinners or disobedient Christians. Christ called us to preach His Gospel to the lost and teach truth to His people. We need to know and teach our children to understand the difference between friends we can trust and people we can’t trust yet because of their spiritual condition. We are called to be ambassadors for Christ, ministers of reconciliation, servants of God’s Love. We are not to be proud and think more highly of ourselves than we should. We need to reach out to a dying world while also protecting ourselves from the dangers of that world. Our children need to know the difference.
In the next part of our special series about Teaching Wisdom to Our Children we’ll look at how sexual relationships impact young people.