The quality of your life depends much on the quality of your friendships. Often those who live for self are not happy because they have no friend with whom to share their things or their thoughts. True are the words of Jesus Christ: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) Echoing this truth, English poet George Byron wrote: “All who joy would win must share it.”
What is a friend? A dictionary defines a friend as “one attached to another by affection or esteem.” A true friend can help direct your thoughts toward good things. He can encourage and build you up in times of need. He can even share your grief. King Solomon said: “A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.” (Proverbs 17:17) While material things often lose their value over time, true friendship grows and flourishes with time.
The Scriptures exhort Christians to “widen out” in their affections. (2 Corinthians 6:13) There is wisdom in reaching out to others. At Ecclesiastes 11:1, 2, we read: “Send out your bread upon the surface of the waters, for in the course of many days you will find it again. Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what calamity will occur on the earth.” How does this principle apply to friendship? If you have cultivated friendships with many people, some of them may come to your aid when difficulties arise.
True friends are a protection for you in another way. “The wounds inflicted by a lover are faithful,” says Proverbs 27:6. Although any number of people may give you words of praise, only true friends will think enough of you to point out a serious fault and offer constructive counsel in a loving way.—Proverbs 28:23.
Good, intimate friends are among those rare gifts that can produce a positive influence on you. In Acts chapter 10, we read of an event in the life of Roman army officer Cornelius, who had been informed by an angel that his prayers had been heard. In expectation of the visit of the apostle Peter, Cornelius “called together his relatives and intimate friends.” Those close friends of Cornelius were among the first uncircumcised Gentiles to embrace the good news and be anointed by the holy spirit, with the prospect of ruling with Christ in God’s Kingdom. What a blessing for Cornelius’ intimate friends!—Acts 10:24, 44.
How, though, can you go about making friends? The Bible, which has much to say about friendship, answers with practical advice.