“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 27:5,6
We’re doing a series on friendship at our church and my good friend Zach Van Dyke is doing an excellent job of taking us through what the essence of friendship really looks like. So, in the spirit of full disclosure, here are the four elements of friendship that Zach shared with us last Sunday and I felt they were so spot on that I’d like to pass them on unabridged.
- Constancy: true friends are friends that are always there. This of course is assuming that the friendship is not enmeshed or codependent, but the essence of this quality is that friends don’t just say they’re friends, they back their words up with their actions. They show up!
- Care: once you show up as a friend, there needs to be an emotional connection that comes from the heart. Empathy is a bedrock element that defines good friendships. This quality is love that is revealed through doing our best to feel what our friends feel, and join them in those emotions.
- Candor: the above proverb speaks most clearly to this aspect of being a good friend. Good friends are honest, even when it’s not easy to be truthful because of the initial pain it has the potential to cause. Wounds inflicted with love as the motivation is a gift to every person who wisely receives them.
- Confession: being a good friend means that there is work to maintain a healthy give and take of thoughts and emotions. And with this sharing comes a much-needed accountability that will allow us to grow more quickly and in the right direction.
So, in Zach’s words: “A friend lets you in, and doesn’t let you down.” And as I listened to these elements of friendship being expanded on, I was motivated to do a personal friend inventory. The challenge for me was to be proactive in building healthy friendships and do what I need to to make sure that I am always being stretched to do what I need to do to be an excellent friend to those who call me friend. Please use these principles to do your own evaluation of your relationships, and I want to encourage you to always be growing in this vital part of our lives.