Building Good Friendships 1920x1080

Building Good Friendships

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Making Friends Forever.

Proverbs 17:17

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Making Friends Forever.

Qualities of a Good Friend

A True Friend Shares Life

Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Someone once ran a contest for definitions of friendship. One was, “A friend is somebody who multiplies our joys and divides our grief.” Isn’t that beautiful? Another was, “A friend is somebody who understands our silence.” But the definition that won the prize was this: “A friend is someone who comes in when the whole world goes out.”

We need friends who will strengthen us with their prayers, bless us with their love, and encourage us with their hope. A friend is on the scene when you need him. A friend is somebody who is wise enough to leave you alone when you want to be. A friend helps you celebrate, and he or she is a cause for celebration when there is nothing else to celebrate.

A True Friend Sharpens Character

The Book of Proverbs has much to say about true friendship.

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

A good friend will put a keen edge on your life, but a false friend will blunt and dull your life.


Our English word “friend” relates to the word “freedom,” because a friend sets you free to be all that you can be. A friend knows how to speak words that will draw you out and lead you on.

Have friends who make you a better person. It is a wonderful thing when the person you are married to is a friend. And of course, your best friend must be Jesus. God’s friendship “sticks closer than a brother,” and He sharpens you by His constant presence.


Another way a godly friend sharpens you is by confronting you when you have done wrong. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6).

“The kisses of an enemy” are flattery. But thank God for friends who love us enough to put their arms around our shoulders and tell us when something needs to be corrected.

A True Friend Sticks Close

If you want to know who your real friends are, make a mistake. Who stays with you?

One of the great admonitions about friendship in the Bible is Proverbs 27:10— “Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend.” Remember that definition of friendship: “A friend is somebody who walks in when the whole world walks out”—not a fair-weather friend who jumps on board when the sun is shining, and steps off when the rough times come.

How to Make Friends

Friendships are built; they do not happen overnight. There are five secrets in making a friend, but all come out of one great principle, given by Christ:

Luke 6:31
Just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

So what are these five secrets of friendship?

1. Accept

Jesus called His disciples friends. Were they perfect? No. But Jesus does not change us so that He can love us; He loves us so that He can change us. We are accepted by the grace of God, and we ought to accept others by the grace of God.

2. Acknowledge

The road to the heart is often through the ear. Pay attention to people. Give them your full attention—your eye contact. “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry” (Psalm 34:15). God’s eyes and ears are on you. If you want people to love and appreciate you, put your eyes on them; open your ears to them.

“I love the LORD, because He has heard My voice and my supplications” (Psalm 116:1). When you acknowledge a person, you are saying, “You are important to me.” People need that.

3. Appreciate

Find something you can compliment and appreciate.

The Apostle Paul had a lot of problems to deal with in the early churches. But you find that when he wrote the Epistles, before he would jump on something wrong, he would say some word of appreciation or commendation.

4. Affirm

Why do people have difficulty doing the above three things? Because they themselves have a negative self-image.

So many suicides happen because people just wanted to be affirmed. They think, “I’m nobody. Nobody appreciates me. But if I’m dead, maybe there will be some tears shed for me.”

“The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered” (Proverbs 11:9).

5. Assure

People want understanding. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). When people are going through heartache and tears, they are not primarily interested in your answers to their problems. But they will be interested in you sitting down and crying with them a little bit. Assure them that you care.

Maintaining Healthy Friendships

Once you build a friendship, it has to be maintained. Friendships are difficult to maintain! Don’t have too many close friends.

The New King James Version says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly” (Proverbs 18:24a). But the New American Standard translates it, “A person of too many friends comes to ruin.” Don’t sound like the same verse, do they? But they say the same thing, rendered in different ways. They both mean this: don’t have more friends than you can be friendly to.

Real friends are costly. Benjamin Franklin said, “Be slow in choosing a friend, and slower in changing a friend.” Friends can bring personal, social, emotional, and financial demands, but maintain your friendships. It is worth it.

Sharing God’s Friendship

What did Jesus Christ do with His friendship? He ministered to us.

John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Christians make friends not just for a lifetime, but for eternity. Jesus was a friend of sinners. There are lost people who need the love and friendship of Jesus Christ. We are now His body, and we are to be reaching out to people who are perishing.

How to Reach Your Community for Christ

Here are some practical ways to do this as a church body.

You, Church Leaders…

Pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers, staff, committee personnel, etc.— set the tone. Be approachable and real. Think of people not as numbers, but as names.

You, the Congregation…

Learn to greet people. To everybody who comes into your church, give a look—a smile on your face. Give a word—“Good morning!” Give a friendly touch—a warm handshake, a hand on the shoulder.

What if you are the first person visitors meet when they come to your church? Visitors will get an impression of your church from you. Think of the stranger coming for the first time. Many don’t even understand Christ. Take the fear element out by gentleness, winsomeness, and love.

There is a difference in acceptance and approval. You can accept people without approving what they do.

Make friends, and make friends for Jesus.

List of Scriptures Referenced in this Article

Proverbs 11:9, 17:17, 18:24, 27:6,10,17; Luke 6:31; Psalm 34:15, 116:1; Romans 12:15; John 15:13

More Bible Verses About Friendship

Proverbs 12:26
The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.

Proverbs 17:9
He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.

Proverbs 22:11, 24-25
He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend…. Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.