Can you have too many friends? The KJV text of Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” I found it interesting that the English Standard version translates that verse this way – “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” I never thought of it that way, so I had Steve look it up in the Hebrew. It’s Hebrew poetry and is a contrast – not a compliment. Who knew? The verse actually means “too many” friends can ruin you, but a true friend is better than a brother. The Prodigal Son (Luke 15) learned this lesson. When his inheritance was gone – so were his “friends.” Some friendships are harmful and can destroy you. Everyone doesn’t have your best interests at heart – they have theirs! In I Corinthians 15:33, Paul said, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” Evil communications means “bad company.” Our friends have such an influence on our lives. This could also relate to our Facebook/Twitter account friends. Some people glory in that they have X number of friends or followers. Is more always better? We’re influenced by the posts and pictures of our “friends.” What kind of friends do you have?
As adults, we have our “old friends” – the ones that knew us “back when.” These might be the friends that played with, went to high school with, etc…. Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with many of them and it’s wonderful. There’s nothing like an “old friend.”
Then, we have our “work friends.” We usually can’t choose these people, but we’re around them 40 hours a week, and they have an influence on us. Steve used to do a demonstration in his teen class – One person stands in a chair and another on the ground. They grasp hands and the one in the chair tries to pull the ground person up while the at the same time, the ground person tries to pull the other on down. Inevitably, it’s much easier to get pulled down that it is to get pulled up. We must be aware of our responsibility to “let our light shine” and make a positive influence on our work friends. We must not let them “pull us down.”
We are also friends with people who like and do similar things. Football/Baseball/ and Soccer Moms all know each other well by the end of the season. We gravitate towards people who “think like we think.” This leads us to our church family friends, who are always there for us.
In our busy lives, we just have so much time each week to spend with friends. Sometimes, we may need to remove toxic people from our lives in order to make room for better people. Do you have a “friend” who is always negative? You’ll start thinking the same way, if you stay around them very long. Do you have a “friend” who uses filthy language? The more you hear it – the more often it will come to mind when you’re in a “situation.” Are you friends with a “gossiper?” Folks, do you need to “clean out your ‘Friend’s Closet’ and go ‘shopping’ for friends that will help you get to heaven?
Christians friends are such a blessing from the Lord. I hope your “closet” is full of them! God Bless, Courtney