I put these questions to one of my high
school classes of seniors who answered:
- "Very carefully and slowly. People
usually start out as acquaintances and
then become better friends through shared
When I asked them how they knew if they
could trust someone, they explained:
- "You learn about people by spending
time with them. Usually they'll show
I also asked them if they'd ever gotten
burned, and if so, what they had done
about it. Many of them, both guys and
girls, had gotten hurt.
- One girl said that she is a type of
person who automatically trusts people,
which sometimes makes her vulnerable.
But she's not concerned by that at all.
It makes her stronger. She would rather
trust than not trust. She is a happy
- One girl said that she isn't friends
any more with a person who hurt her.
And that does happen.
- Most agreed that they had learned
something from the experience.
When I asked if they had a lot of good
friends, their responses were telling:
- Many had a lot of friends, but they
had only a handful of very good friends.
- "Good friends are hard to find.
Friendships take a lot of work. And
often friends come and go."
So how do we see friendship on a spiritual
The Bible tells us:
A man that hath friends must shew himself
friendly: and there is a friend that
sticketh closer than a brother. KJV
To me, this suggests that in order to
have good friends, we must be good friends.
A previous Hot
Topic on Friendship discusses this
in more detail.
Eugene Peterson's translation of that
same text reveals a different aspect:
Friends come and friends go,
a true friend sticks by you like family.
Message Prov. 18:24
And another passage really helps to define
Friends love through all kinds of weather,
families stick together in all kinds
Message Prov. 17:17
We certainly can't make friends if we
stay holed up in our own world hoping
that someone will reach out to us. If
we really value friendship, then we will
look for those who need a friend, and
we will be that friend. This requires
a little bit of risk-taking. A good friend
of mine who is an actor, mime, and teacher
has a saying that not only applies to
the theatre, but also to life: "Risk
and Reason." To progress, we must
take risks, but we must accompany those
risks with reason and common sense. And
we can't forget prayer!
Prayer -- which really is listening to
God's constant communication to us and
striving to understand the power of His
Love operating in our lives -- will help
us see the goodness in ourselves and others.
Just as we know the voices of our family
members, so we can know the voice of God.
We can hear God telling us what to do
in each circumstance and with each person.
Rather than trying to base a friendship
on trust between humans, we can base our
friendships on trust in God.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and
he shall direct thy paths. KJV Prov.
There's a reason why this proverb is
so known and loved: it's comforting, and
what it teaches works! If you open up
your heart wholly to God (and not tell
God what kind of a friend you want, when
you want one, etc.) and trust in His ability
to give you everything you need, then
you will find every single one of your
needs fulfilled, including good, true