Choosing Friends

Good friends are among our greatest blessings; they may keep us back from much evil, quicken us in our course, speak a word in season, draw us upward, and draw us on. But a bad friend is a positive misfortune, a weight continually dragging us down, and chaining us to earth. Keep company with an irreligious man, and it is more probable you will in the end become like him. That is the general consequence of all such friendships. The good go down to the bad and the bad do not come up to the good.”
~J.C. Ryle

A discussion on friendship would be better had if I were sitting down with you over a cup of hot tea in my kitchen or sipping a tall hot chocolate. In fact, many “sitting downs” over a long period of time would allow for the love and trust to grow as we explore such an intricate and intimate subject. But alas, this is a written article so I must do my best to make the topic individual and biblical so we can safely give our hearts to the universal truths of God’s Word.

I believe that a mother is the most influential person in the lives of her children. She knows that she is their best friend. That being said, Mom, what kind of friend are you? Is your life setting a godly example so you can confidently teach your children who their friends should be? A mother’s passion for God, her patience and encouragement can help propel her children toward godly friendships.

Let me direct you to some biblical truths that should characterize our lives and our friendships, as well as the lives and friendships of our children.

A biblical friend fears God – “I am a
companion of all them that fear thee,
and of them that keep thy precepts”
(Psalm 119:63).

Our children were enrolled in our local public schools for most of the years spanning K through 12. They had friends who were unbelievers as well as believers. I kept a close watch over their friendships. The goal was to encourage God-honoring relationships. That meant loving them and their friends and giving consistent guidance as to the activities that fit the goals and parameters of our family. I remember the day when Jonie, as a middle school student, entered our front door in the company of one of her unbelieving friends and said, “Mom, how are Christine and I ever going to get to know each other? You won’t let me spend the night at her house, and her mom won’t let her sleep over here.” Sleepovers were not high on the priority list for either mother as a means for building friendships. I sweetly replied and said, “Well, I guess you girls have a
dilemma then, don’t you? And, by the way Christine, I like how your mom thinks.” The girls never had a sleepover, but they maintained a school day relationship all through high school that provided us the opportunity to tell Christine about the Lord and invite her to our church.

A biblical friend loves – “A friend loveth at all times” (Proverbs 17:17).

I encourage you to love your children with the love that Paul communicated to the Corinthian believers in 2 Corinthians 11:2 – “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy.” He wanted to protect them from those who would deceive them as the serpent deceived Eve. He did not want their thoughts to be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. Guarding our children’s friendships calls for a love for them and for God that may require deliberate action at times, and it may come with risk. There will be hard choices about their activities, as well as whom they will or will not spend time with – choices that may even offend the parents of your children’s friends. Don’t be afraid. Your children want safe boundaries.

A biblical friend encourages – “But exhort one another daily,
while it is called today” (Hebrews 3:13).

Make sure your friends are ones to whom you can send your daughters for biblical counsel. The Scriptures exhort each of us to find the safety that is found with a multitude of counselors and our children are no exception (Proverbs 24:6). I thank God for the friends I have to whom I was able to send my girls who would be other godly voices speaking into their lives to confirm, and even expand upon, the truths I was teaching them.

A biblical friend corrects – “Open rebuke is better than secret
love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:5-6).

I was fearless when it came to questioning the motives of young men. When my daughter was in the 8th grade, she received a dozen red roses from a boy at school. After the school band concert that night, I shook his hand and said, “Hi Josh, I’m Liz’s mom, and I want to tell you that those were the most beautiful roses you sent her today. Now tell me, son, just what are your intentions toward her?” He gulped and was unable to answer. My goal was accomplished. We never heard from him again.

A biblical friend forgives – “He that covereth a transgression
seeketh love” (Proverbs 17:9).

Navigating the waters of motherhood takes great skill and great humility. Mistakes will be made, but one of my greatest joys was asking my daughters to forgive me. I also found it very helpful to confess to them at different stages along the way that I hadn’t traveled this path before, but with God’s help and our submission to Him and each other, we would, by His grace, arrive at our desired destination.

So how are you doing, Mom? Your advice and commands will not be effective unless they are backed up by the pattern of your own life. Your children will not respond to your instruction if your actions contradict your counsel.

The end is here and we have barely scratched the surface. Please
come to my kitchen for a cup of hot tea.

Written by Kathie Turner. This article was published in the Spring 2011 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine.
To contact Kathie, leave us a comment, email, or message us on Facebook.

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