CHOICE & CONSEQUENCE – Decisions of Friends

What is a friend?

When we say “friend” what do we really mean?  Because we all have different types of friends:

  • That’s my buddy
  • That’s my friend
  • That’s my best friend
  • That’s my facebook friend
  • I follow them on twitter/instagram
  • They follow me…

What are two or three attributes or character qualities you think are required to call someone a close friend?

Friendships sit at the center of your lives.  Almost everything you do revolves around the friends you have.  Some of you are here in this room simply because of a friendship you have.

Friendships have the power to change us.  But we also have the power to change our friends.  Who you hang out with is who you turn into.  And that can be good or bad.  You can make good choices of the friends you choose, or you can make some really dumb ones.

So today we’re going to talk about how to be smart when choosing close friends.  Check out: 

Proverbs 13.20 Walk with the wise and become wise,
for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Proverbs has a lot to say about choosing good friends.  Our key verse that we just read says that a lot of what happens to you in life is determined by who you hang out with.  So let’s unpack this:

You Become Like the People You Hang Out With

 Solomon understood this and wanted to teach his sons:

Proverbs 13.20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

If you surround yourself with friends who make good decisions, you’ll likely end up making good decisions.

But if you surround yourself with fools, you’ll suffer like I did:

Paintballs – In 9th grade, when my ex-girlfriend started dating someone else, I didn’t like it.  I told a friend I was going to drive over there and shoot his car with paintballs.  Instead of talking me out of it, this friend said “Oooooo, can I come?”

He caught me and that led to a legitimate car chase through my hometown

Eggs – Literally a few months after this I moved to Texas, met a guy who lived across the street who wanted to go egging with some other guys.  They thought it’d be funny, I needed friends, and 6 days after moving I was in the back of a police car.

Back Flips – While playing chicken on the diving board in my pool, I wasn’t surrounded by bad friends, just dare-devils, and to keep up appearances I almost got paralyzed.

If you walk with the wise you become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.  You become like the people you hang out with.

So when your parents say “I don’t want you hanging out with them” they know what they’re talking about; they have this crazy parent radar that’s always right.

You guys crave friendship at almost any cost.  It’s time to be smart when finding close friends.

True Friends Play A Special Role

Many people would say that a true friend is someone who knows the worst about you but loves you anyway.

So I want to spend a few minutes looking at Scripture so you can see what it says about choosing friends:

Proverbs 17.17 A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

True friends love you.  They don’t “put up with you” or invite you because they have to.  They care about you and they prove it when hard times come.  That’s what adversity means.  And that’s why being connected in a Cell Group is so important!

Proverbs 18.24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

The Message says it this way: “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.”  Family is a big deal.  I love my family without exception.  No matter what Kinsleigh or Kyla ever do, I will always be there for them.  If you have a friend like that, you have a true friend.  If you don’t have a friend like that, you still have a true friend in Jesus.  Friends will come and friends will go, but JESUS is the friend who sticks closer than a brother.  He is always there; always has been, always will be.

Proverbs 20.19 A gossip betrays a confidence;
so avoid anyone who talks too much.

True friends won’t talk about you behind your back.  You can trust a true friend.  If you get in a circle where they’re talking bad about someone else, it won’t be long until you’re the new target.

Proverbs 22.24-25 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, 25 or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.

This is just a warning.  If you get in with someone who blows up easily, they’re gonna expect you have their back.  And if you don’t, they’ll blow up on you.  But the thing about anger is its easy to follow.  Anger is addictive and if you hang out with angry people, guess what?  You’ll start saying everything sucks or everything’s stupid and you’ll slowly slip into apathy.

Proverbs 23.19-21 Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path: 20 Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, 21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

This addresses two things: the party scene and laziness.  True friends don’t need you to be drunk or high to hang out with you.  If you’re caught up in the party scene, you’ll know who your friends are based on the pictures that show up on facebook.  Be smart when finding close friends.

This also talks about laziness: “drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.”  If your friendship is one-dimensional, meaning you only hang out around an Xbox until 4 am, what kind of a friendship is that?  Because:

Proverbs 27.17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

True friends encourage you.  True friends challenge you in your faith.  True friends want to see you succeed.  This means that when you hang out, when you talk, whenever you get together you’re not becoming like a dull blade.  If a knife isn’t sharp it isn’t useful.  And a knife needs to be sharpened after constant use.  True friends in Christ give life to each other.  If you’re in a friendship that is sucking the life out of you, it’s not a good friendship to be in.  If it’s boring, and you’re not growing in your faith, and you’re always doing damage control, it’s not a good friendship.

Your true friends are different than a “buddy” or a “teammate.”  And that makes all the difference.

How Do We Respond To This?

Proverbs 13.20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Friendships are important and that’s why you need to be smart when choosing close friends.

So may you be encouraged to make good choices about friends.

May you have courage to end bad friendships with grace.

And my prayer is that everyone in here finds a friend who will encourage you in your faith and be on mission together.