Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wise Friendships

Do you think about who your children will call their "friends" in the elementary, middle and high school years?
I do.  Very often, in fact.
As a middle school teacher, I saw the power and influence a friend could have on one's character and interests.  I'll never forget watching a smart, respectful, and innocent 6th grade kid at the beginning of the school year change into a foolish, disrespectful troublemaker within three months.  And I'm not talking the normal middle school foolish behavior that most kids go through.  I'm talking drugs, sex, and violence.  His parents were baffled as to how their 6th grade son could do a complete 180 in only three months.  They were heartbroken.  I was heartbroken right along with them.
Of course they wanted to know why. 
What had happened to their sweet little guy? 
The answer was simple
He had made friends with a very foolish boy the first week of school.
Proverbs 13:20 says,
"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm."
I was talking just yesterday with a dear friend about our childrens' friends.  It was the discussion many of you probably have had.  We ask ourselves:
How do we protect our children but not keep them in a bubble? 
How do we teach them to love and even befriend the troublemakers but not become one? 
How do we decipher which friends will build our children up and which will completely tear them down? 
And will our children even listen to us and heed our wise counsel about who they choose to be friends with?
If you're like me, you don't have the answers to all these questions. 

Thus the reason we pray.  

Here is what God's Word teaches about friendship: 

A righteous man is cautious in friendship.  (Proverbs 12:26)
  • I wish my children to be CAREFUL who they call their friend.
A friend loves at all times. (Proverbs 17:17) 
  • I wish my children's friends to LOVE them with a love that is patient, kind, not envious, not boasting, not proud, not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, not delighted by evil but rejoices with truth. (1 Corinthians 13:4-6)
A friend sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)
  • I wish my children's friends to be LOYAL.
Two are better than one...If one falls down, his friend can help him up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
  • I wish my children's friends to LIFT THEM out of trouble or hardship. 

I am compelled today to pray for our childrens' current and future friendshipsPlease join me.

Lord, help my kids to be cautious in friendship.  Give them the spiritual insight to decipher whether a friend is truly loving, loyal, and one who will lift them up.  Protect them from joining a companion of fools. Bring creative, fun friends into their lives who walk with Jesus.  And teach them, through Your Word and example, to BE a wise, loving, and loyal friend to others. 
Proverbs 12:26; 13:20;17:17; 18:24; Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

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