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Cultivating Noble Friendships

(Proverbs 25:11-28)

Lesson 11 -- fourth quarter 2009
November 15, 2009

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2009

Introductory questions to chew

What kind of friend do my friends need?

Will I be that kind of friend?

According to this passage, when are two good times to be a "cold" friend?

Should my neighbor also be my friend?

When strangers see my face, do they see a potential friend?

As a noble friend...

• Speak words that fit...and speak them fittingly (Proverbs 25:11).

• Give good value with your reproof (Proverbs 25:12).

• Keep the length and the frequency of your visits well timed (Proverbs 25:17).

• Be faithful to a trust (Proverbs 25:19).

• Fit the occasion (Proverbs 25:20).

• Be a joy to be with (Proverbs 25:24).

Wanted: Close Friends

"After six years away, we aren't sure we want to return to our home congregation. The close friends we had there have all left." Though I could understand the comment and sentiment well, and could even empathize with it, I was still cut. You see, I was one of those who was still in their home congregation. Their feelings left me feeling out in the cold. It seemed I didn't count as a friend or even as a potential friend.

"I hope you don't decide to leave. If you do, we will have no real friends left here." The comment warmed my heart at the same time it made my heart sink. It seemed that I had allowed our good friendship to warp our friends socially. It seemed that in their estimation, no one else counted as a friend or even as a potential friend.

Have our congregations turned into ice cube trays with the cubes representing individual friendships that have little in common with each other? I hope not! Actually, I'm sure that they haven't, but the previous two paragraphs ought to serve as a warning to us. We Christians must be experts at developing new friendships, even close friendships, especially within our local congregations!

Three of my good friends left. One went to the Caribbean, another to Latin America, and the other to the world. Sometimes I feel as though I have good friends at church, but no more real confidants. The strange thing is, I can so easily blame the church. You know, it just isn't as warm and friendly as it used to be. Indeed. If I am part of the church and I am not establishing new close friendships, then, yes, the church isn't as warm and friendly as it used to be. And guess who's partly to blame! Me!

This concludes my comments based on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications. To read my comments on the passage for the International Bible Study, click here: Facing Opposition.

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