Keys to Good Friendships, Part 3

This is the contents of the "Keys to Good Friendships, Part 3" section of the "Developing Great Relationships"

Jonathan and David

Keys to Good Friendships—Part 3

With computers and the Internet

jobs in cubicles and long work hours

and large, sprawling cities

we have become a people who are more and more isolated.

Relationships are becoming 140 character interactions rather than face-to-face conversations. The Bible is not 140 characters. It deeply reveals the character, thoughts, and emotions of a personal and caring God. That is our example.

Our parents lived in houses with porches in the front so that they could see their neighbors. Now we build houses with decks in the back so that our neighbors won’t see us.

One of the tragedies of today’s culture is a lack of genuine, committed friendships.

Albert Camus, the existentialist and novelist, said, “I have no friends, only accomplices.”

And too often it is not a question of what our friendships are like but who they are with. We can find many who strive for friendships with the rich, the powerful, the popular and the influential. And it becomes a question of who we can get the most from.

One person boasted, “I have friends I have not even used yet.”

But God wants us to develop intimate, trusting relationships.

In the past two studies we looked at twelve keys to good friendships.

  1. Be willing to be the first to open up to the other person

  2. Understand that not every situation will work out the way that you might have hoped

  3. Learn to listen

  4. Don’t return anger or digs right away in like manner

  5. Do not judge other people.

  6. Be loyal

  7. Don’t become a pest

  8. Learn the difference between discernment and judgment in dealing with people

  9. If you expect mercy then give mercy

  10. Don’t defend yourself at another’s expense

  11. Don’t force Christians to meet higher expectations

  12. Stay in touch

  13. Learn to re-mold negative traits into positive traits

Today, we are going to see in the Bible one of the best friendships ever and how we can learn from it.

Jonathan and David

1 Samuel 18:1

“… the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, Jonathan loved him as himself.”

Why did God word this verse this way? Why didn’t He just say, “Jonathan was knit to David”? Or “Jonathan and David were very close”?

In the Bible the word “soul” has several senses to its meaning. In its broadest meaning it denotes the very life and essence of a person. When people were counted for a census, the Bible says that they were counted as souls, that is, as persons (Exodus 1:5 and Deut. 10:22). So, in this sense, soul means the very person himself.

God evens refers to “My soul” as another way of referring to Himself. Thus when God speaks of His soul He is summing up all that characterizes God in His love, holiness, wrath, and faithfulness.

In a narrower sense the soul denotes man in all of his varied emotions and inner powers. A person’s soul contains his desires and his emotions. In the Bible the soul is said to weep (Job 30:16), to have patience (Job 6:11), to have knowledge and understanding (Psalm 139:14), thought (1 Samuel 20:3), love (1 Samuel 18:1), and memory (Lamentations 3:20). In today’s language we would say that the soul is our personality or ego.

In the NT, “soul” is often translated as “life.” So we read that Jesus gave His soul as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28) and He laid down His soul for His sheep (John 10:14).

So to say that “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David” is to say far more than “Jonathan was knit to David.” It means that every part of Jonathan to his deepest emotions was intricately intertwined and woven to every part of David. What this meant was that they could be emotional with each other, they could share anything with each other. And because their souls were knit or bound together it meant that one of them could not experience their emotions alone. The other one would surely feel and participate in those same emotions.

The result of this was that Jonathan loved David with a total and uninhibited love; he “loved him as himself.”

To love someone with the love that you have for your own self is the greatest love that you can have.

  • It is a love that sacrifices. John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

  • It is a love that looks away from self and onto others. Philippians 1:3-4, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

We will never love another person as completely as we might until we are willing knit our souls to theirs.

This takes sacrifice.

This takes work.

This kind of relationship is one of vulnerability. It means being willing to be deeply hurt.

And as we work through this study on relationships you might ask yourself

  • Am I willing to share my deepest emotions with another person?

  • Am I willing to be vulnerable?

  • Am I willing to hold nothing back?

  • Am I willing to intertwine my emotions with someone else so tightly that I will hurt with their hurt and feel their joy when they rejoice?

  • Am I willing to take my eyes off of my needs and desires so that I might fulfill their needs and desires first?

And are you willing to do this with someone who is less than perfect?

What are some obstacles that keep us from knitting ourselves to other people?

What are some ways that we can overcome these obstacles?

1 Samuel 18:3-4

Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt.”

Of all of the things that Jonathan could have given to David why did he give David these items and what did they symbolize?

The Robe was generally a very ornate piece of clothing oftentimes only wore by the most wealthy and powerful people. In Ezekiel 26:16, foreign princes were often notable for their luxurious embroidered garments. So by giving David his robe, Jonathan was saying that my wealth and power and prestige are yours. Use them in any way that you see fit.

Armor, of course, was used for protection. By giving David his armor Jonathan was making himself vulnerable and, therefore, proving his trust in David as an equally caring friend.

Say that you have a very valuable and fragile china set. You meet someone that you like. When that person comes over you might at first you might give that person a small piece to hold, something like a saucer. If they are gentle with it then the next time you might give them a more important piece. And, with each piece, if they prove themselves to be sensitive and caring then eventually you might entrust them with the entire set. It is the same with our emotions. We will reveal a little each time and see how the person cares about what we share. If they are callous or uncaring or, even worse, a gossip then that is where it ends. But they are sincerely interested then we will give them more and more. We need to be people who are very careful and caring with what other people share about themselves. If they share something with us then even if it doesn’t matter much to us it must matter to them and that is indeed its true value.

The sword was generally a short, two-edged blade used for close in fighting by using quick jabs and thrusts. By giving David his sword, Jonathan was ensuring to David that he would not attack him or in any way personally hurt or offend him when they were together.

The bow was a long-range weapon. Oftentimes the person who was killed by an arrow never saw the person who fired it. It was almost an anonymous attack; the archer knew whom he was attacking but the victim never saw it coming. So by giving David his bow, Jonathan was saying to David that David never had to fear that Jonathan would talk about him behind his back or slander him or gossip about him.

The belt was a fabric, usually leather, linen or wool folded to around 5-inches in width. In it was carried coins, knives or food. On a dusty journey or when work was being done, the undergarment was often tucked around the belt.

Jeremiah 13 it is used to symbolize two things: 1) usefulness and 2) faithfulness and loyalty.

In Isaiah 11:3 it is used to symbolize two things: 1) righteousness and 2) faithfulness.

So, in the Bible, the belt did more than just hold up someone’s trousers. It symbolized usefulness, righteousness and faithfulness.

So by giving David his belt, Jonathan was, in essence, telling David that he wanted to be useful to him and that he would be faithful and loyal to him.

So by picking these particular items Jonathan was telling David that

  • David had all of Jonathan’s wealth and power for his use.

  • That Jonathan left himself vulnerable to David and trusted him to return due care.

  • That Jonathan would never hurt or offend David.

  • That Jonathan would never talk wrongly about David to others.

  • And that David had Jonathan’s full usefulness, faithfulness, and loyalty.

These are vital keys to right relationships. And Jonathan didn’t just pledge his friendship; he wanted to prove it and to give David confidence that he really meant it. Jonathan didn’t just pledge generalities; he pledged specifics. And by doing so, he told David that he was David’s faithful and trustworthy friend.

Today we don’t usually carry around robes, swords, armor, bows, and large belts. So what are some things that we can symbolically give to another person?

1 Samuel 19:1-3

Now Saul told Jonathan his son and all his servants to put David to death. But Jonathan, Saul's son, greatly delighted in David. So Jonathan told David saying, ‘Saul my father is seeking to put you to death. Now therefore, please be on guard in the morning, and stay in a secret place and hide yourself. And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak with my father about you; if I find out anything, then I shall tell you.’”

That word “delighted” oftentimes comes with the idea of giving or wanting to improve the other’s person’s life.

2 Samuel 22:20, “He [God] also brought me forth into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.”

Here, Jonathan had to take sides. There was the king, his father, who was wealthy and powerful and from whom he could ask for and get anything. On the other side was David who was a shepherd boy, not terribly wealthy and who probably didn’t have much in the way of wealth or power to give to Jonathan.

So whom did Jonathan choose? He could have set David up, had him killed and been the hero. Instead, he chose loyalty and friendship over immediate reward.

When you’re forced to take sides, do you choose

  • the most popular

  • or the best looking

  • or the richest

  • or the most powerful?

Or do you choose loyalty?

Are you willing to shun the immediate reward for the sake of a friend?

Are you willing to help someone out of a tight jam even at the possibility of your own personal expense?

Does anyone have any examples of when you sacrificed a great deal to help someone out of a jam or perhaps someone sacrificed a great deal to help you out of a jam?

1 Samuel 19:4-5

Then Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, ‘Do not let the king sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial to you. For he took his life in his hand and struck the Philistine, and the LORD brought about a great deliverance for all Israel; you saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood, by putting David to death without a cause?’”

In this case, Saul was speaking ill of David.

Jonathan had three choices.

  1. He could have taken the easiest route and agreed with Saul.

  2. He could have simply ignored the comments or changed the subject.

  3. He could defend David.

Which one did Jonathan choose? He picked number three; he defended David. And notice how he defended him.

  1. He pointed out to Saul that Saul’s attitude was wrong or potentially wrong (“Do not let the king sin…”).

  2. He pointed out to Saul that David had done nothing wrong to him (“he has not sinned against you”).

  3. He pointed out to Saul that David had been helpful to him (“his deeds have been very beneficial to you”).

  4. He gave specifics to prove his points (“he took his life in his hand and struck the Philistine…”).

  5. What David did was right (“the LORD brought about a great deliverance for all Israel”).

Nothing kills gossip faster than turning around and speaking well of the person. Do you not like the way that someone that you know puts down another friend of yours? Then, the next time that it happens, say something good about the person.

Nothing douses the hot coals of gossip better than the cool water of a good report.

Be willing to stand up for and defend a friend.

1 Samuel 19:6-7

And Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan, and Saul vowed, ‘As the LORD lives, he shall not be put to death.’ Then Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these words. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as formerly.”

What was the result? Even Saul, whose heart was so filled with loathing towards David, relented and was willing to reconcile.

Jonathan worked hard to reconcile his friend to someone who hated him.

True friendship does not take the attitude that rifts between two other people are their own business and so let them fight it out. True friendship seeks a solution and tries to bring those people together in harmony.

Jonathan did not say to Saul, “Well, obviously, you and David have to work some things out. Call me when it’s over.” No, he made an effort. He worked as a middleman or mediator.

1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”

The definition of a mediator “is someone who resolves or settles differences by acting as an intermediary agent between two conflicting parties.”

This is what Christ did. This is what God wants us to do likewise.

Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

When you find yourself in the middle of a conflict

  • Do you duck and run

  • Do you bow out

  • Do you jump into a front row seat to watch the cat fight?

Or do you get involved in trying to promote reconciliation? Are you willing to be a mediator?

1 Samuel 20:1-2

Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said to Jonathan, ‘What have I done? What is my iniquity? And what is my sin before your father, that he is seeking my life?’ And he said to him, ‘Far from it, you shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. So why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so!’”

There are three points to make here.

  1. Jonathan was a friend that David could share his troubles with.

David was able to pour his heart out to Jonathan.

He was able to talk to him about his confusion and his anxieties.

David knew that Jonathan would be patient and not condemning.

Are you the type of friend that people are able to open up to?

How can you be like this?

  1. By learning to patiently listen.

  2. By asking questions to draw out that person and to show that you are truly interested in their life.

  3. By showing with your body language that you really do care. For example, don’t look past them as they’re talking to you. Don’t have a far off look as though you’re thinking about who’s going to win the game this weekend.

  • Look at them.

  • Focus on them.

  • Give them your full attention.

  1. By being trustworthy with the information that they tell you; i.e., don’t tell this to others no matter how juicy it is.

  2. By asking them about the situation later. Perhaps it’s later that night or the next day or next week. But follow up with the situation.

  3. Make an effort, if possible, to find some kind of solution if they come to you with a problem. Even if that means doing nothing more than praying with them.

Jonathan didn’t use this as an excuse to start talking about himself.

When David shared his anxiety with Jonathan, Jonathan didn’t listen for a bit and then use it as an excuse to share his own troubles. He didn’t say, “Well you know what happened to me? I was sitting at the table and my own father tried to run me threw with a spear.”

Nor did Jonathan come back with a “I know exactly what you are going through because I…”

When people share their troubles with you

  1. Don’t see it as an opportunity to turn it around and talk about yourself.

  2. Don’t necessarily try and relate to their situation especially if you can’t. If someone is suffering through the tragic loss of a relative don’t say, “You know, I can sort of relate because I once had this goldfish that I really loved and then one day I came home and there he was on the top of the water.”

  3. Listen, listen, listen.

  4. But if you can relate or if you can share something from your own life that will help them then do so.

  5. Always offer your loyalty and support.

  1. David did not use his own problems as an excuse to make Jonathan his whipping boy.

Here was David.

  • He was adored by the multitudes.

  • By killing Goliath he saved his nation from possible conquest by the Philistines.

  • He was being persecuted not because he did something wrong but because of someone else’s envy and jealousy.

  • He was being chased like a rabbit though the harsh and lifeless wilderness while a king and his army were trying to kill him.

Can any of us relate to this? Probably not.

Yet when we are going through far less trials do we ever have the tendency to take out our frustrations on our close friends or relatives? I would bet that some of you do.

But this is wrong.

David never once lashed out at Jonathan.

He never once treated him poorly.

If you have the habit of kicking people who are loyal to you just because you are frustrated then you must repent and stop that behavior.

1 Samuel 20:3

Yet David vowed again, saying, ‘Your father knows well that I have found favor in your sight, and he has said, “Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.” But truly as the LORD lives and as your soul lives, there is hardly a step between me and death.’”

In verse 2 Jonathan said that he thought that his father, Saul, didn’t really want to kill David and that his attacks only occurred during his times of madness.

David knew, however, that Saul’s attacks were more than fits of temporary insanity. He knew that Saul’s heart was first envious and then fearful and that Saul’s solution to these feelings was to eliminate David.

But here we see that Jonathan and David’s friendship was well known. It wasn’t hidden; it wasn’t kept in a box. It was nothing to be ashamed of.

And we shouldn’t be ashamed of our friendships either.

1 Samuel 20:4

Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Whatever you say, I will do for you.’”

Jonathan was willing to do whatever it took for his friend David.

  • He didn’t weigh the perils to his own life.

  • He didn’t weigh out his lose of power.

  • Or his loss of riches.

  • Or go off someplace and ponder, “Is this worth it?”

No, he was loyal.

Philippians 2:5-7, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”

Why did Jesus Christ empty Himself?

It was solely for the purpose that God could have a relationship with us.

God Himself placed no limits on the sacrifices to be made for a friendship.

What are some ways that you can empty yourself for another person?

1 Samuel 20:27-29

And it came about the next day, the second day of the new moon, that David's place was empty; so Saul said to Jonathan his son, ‘Why has the son of Jesse not come to the meal, either yesterday or today?’ Jonathan then answered Saul, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem, for he said, “Please let me go, since our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to attend. And now, if I have found favor in your sight, please let me get away that I may see my brothers.” For this reason he has not come to the king's table.’”

Once again we see here where Jonathan defended David and protected him.

When our friends are being maligned, God does not want us to be silent.

But notice that in defending David, Jonathan did not attack Saul.

Defending one person does not necessarily mean attacking the other.

If you are defending someone, don’t start out with

  • Well, look at you…”

  • You’re one to talk.”

  • You’re not exactly perfect yourself.”

Learn to be gracious even in the midst of sin.

1 Samuel 20:33

Then Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him down [“him” being Jonathan]; so Jonathan knew that his father had decided to put David to death.”

Jonathan stuck by his friend even to his own possible hurt.

1 Samuel 20:34

Then Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did not eat food on the second day of the new moon, for he was grieved over David because his father had dishonored him.”

Jonathan had deep feelings for his friend David. His was not a utilitarian friendship. It was not one where the friendship only existed for what they could get from each other.

Good friends allow themselves to feel deeply.

They are willing to express those emotions.

1 Samuel 20:41

When the lad was gone, David rose from the south side and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed three times. And they kissed each other and wept together, but David more.”

David showed humility towards his friend and he acknowledged with gratitude all that Jonathan had done for him.

Do you ever take your friends for granted or do you appreciate what they do for you?

Do you thank people for what they do for you or do you act as though they are rendering service due to you?

What are some ways that you can show gratitude towards a friend?

1 Samuel 20:42

And Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the LORD, saying, “The LORD will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.”’ Then he rose and departed, while Jonathan went into the city.”

Despite all of the problems, they still reaffirmed their loyalty to each other.

They never wondered if their relationship was too much trouble.

Are you willing to verbalize your loyalty to another person? Sometimes it’s not enough just to show it. People need to hear it also.

Ultimately, their relationship was centered on God.

They trusted that by doing right that God would bring them through the tumultuous times.

They trusted in the promises of God.

The strength of their relationship was bound up in their commonality of the things of God.

Ecclesiastes 4:12, “And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”

This verse is usually used in the context of marriage. But it is also true for friendships.

Who is “him”? Many would say that this is the devil.

One person will have a difficult time not being deceived by the devil.

Two people will be able resist the devil, but the implication is that it will be difficult and that, eventually, they will be split apart.

But if there is the third person of God, then that union will stand strong.

Your strongest and most secure relationships should be with fellow Christians.

That is not to say that your relationships with non-Christians should be abandoned or considered to necessarily be weak.

But a relationship humbly based on God should be able to stand the test of storms.

1 Samuel 23:16-18

And Jonathan, Saul's son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God. Thus he said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father shall not find you, and you will be king over Israel and I will be next to you; and Saul my father knows that also.’ So the two of them made a covenant before the LORD; and David stayed at Horesh while Jonathan went to his house.”

This is the last meeting that Jonathan had with David.

We can see several points here.

  1. Jonathan knew that David was potentially discouraged. David had been running all over the wilderness hiding from Saul who was trying to kill him. Jonathan didn’t wait for David to call him; instead, he went to David. When you know that someone is struggling, don’t wait for him to come to you. Even if it is inconvenient, go to him.

  2. Jonathan went to be an encouragement. He didn’t go to share in a pity-party. He didn’t go and agree with David about how rough his life was, “I know how hard it is David. You’re running all over this miserable wilderness. You’re dirty. You’re hungry. You’re tired. You have every right to be miserable.” No, he went to be an encouragement, not to agree with his misery.

  3. He got David to look to the future; not to wallow in the present.

  4. Even though Jonathan was next in line to be king he willingly acknowledged David’s right to the throne and his own willingness to be subservient. He exemplified Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.”

  5. He reiterated his loyalty to David.

  6. They reaffirmed that the LORD was the center of their relationship.

2 Samuel 1:26

I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; you have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful than the love of women.”

Finally, David hears that Jonathan was killed.

That word “distressed” in the Hebrew means “to bind,” “to tie up,” “to be restricted or cramped.”

You get this picture of David bent over on the ground in great sorrow.

David was unashamed in expressing his emotions for his friend.

Your love to me was more wonderful than the love of women” is a very strange phrase to our ears. But you must remember that David had a number of wives and a number of concubines and, as we read through the Scriptures, we don’t seem to find him particularly attached to any of them. Many of his marriages were for political reasons and his wives and concubines don’t seem to show much loyalty to him. It may be possible to say that none of them were what we would think of as the traditional loving union between two people.

But his relationship to Jonathan was different. It might well have been the most honest, intimate, and loyal relationship that David had.

And thus he could say that Jonathan loved him more than anyone else ever did.

2 Samuel 9:1

Then David said, ‘Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?’”

And it was discovered that Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth.

2 Samuel 9:9-11

Then the king called Saul's servant Ziba, and said to him, ‘All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master's grandson. And you and your sons and your servants shall cultivate the land for him, and you shall bring in the produce so that your master's grandson may have food; nevertheless Mephibosheth your master's grandson shall eat at my table regularly.’ Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then Ziba said to the king, ‘According to all that my lord the king commands his servant so your servant will do.’ So Mephibosheth ate at David's table as one of the king's sons.”

This is a touching ending.

Jonathan was gone, yet David still wanted to honor his memory and to bless those whom Jonathan would have wanted him to bless.

David never forgot Jonathan.

And he blessed even the relatives of Jonathan in his honor.

We, likewise, should honor our loved ones loved ones. We should not see them as competitors that draw away our friend or spouse’s affections and attention. Rather, they are ones who help complement this community or family of relationships. We all need each other. Two people who isolate themselves from others are doomed to problems.

So we quickly looked at one of the greatest friendships in all of history.

What are some of the key characteristics of the deep friendship that Jonathan and David had for each other?

  • Willingness to sacrifice

  • Loyalty

  • Defending the other’s reputation

  • Trying to reconcile other broken relationships

  • Allowing yourself to be vulnerable

  • Allowing yourself to feel emotions towards that person

  • Not being ashamed of the friendship

  • Being there for that person when they are struggling

  • Listening to that person

  • Trying to be an encouragement to that friend

  • Blessing the friends and relatives of your friend

All of these things and more were exhibited in the relationship that Jonathan and David had for each other.

I went out to find a friend,

but could not find one there.

I went out to be a friend,

And friends were everywhere.”

Several times in this series we mentioned the four levels of friendship.

Here we will look at some practical ways of developing and strengthening those friendships at each level.

Levels of Friendship

Distinguishing Characteristics



Based on occasional contacts

Freedom to ask general questions involving public information

  • Be alert to the person that you are talking to. Don’t look around as though you are trying to find someone more interesting. It was said that John Kennedy gave such undivided attention to whomever he was talking to, that he made that person feel like he was the most important person in the world to him.

  • Learn and remember his name.

  • Ask him appropriate questions that reflect interest and acceptance.

  • Be a good listener.

  • See how God has a deep interest in that person.

  • Pray for him.

Levels of Friendship

Distinguishing Characteristics


Casual Friendship

Based on common interests, activities, and concerns

Freedom to ask specific questions, opinions, ideas, wishes, and goals

  • Discover his strong points through observation.

  • Learn his goals.

  • Ask appropriate specific questions.

  • Be honest about yourself.

  • Talk about God and what we are learning about Him.

  • Learn what to pray for about him.

Levels of Friendship

Distinguishing Characteristics


Close Friendship and Fellowship

Based on mutual life goals

Freedom to discuss more deeply life goals and desires

  • Help him to reach the goals in his life.

  • Learn about his struggles and be there to help him when they occur.

  • Share your goals and desires with him.

  • Spend time together.

  • Discuss freely what God is doing in each other’s lives.

  • Pray with him.

Levels of Friendship

Distinguishing Characteristics


Intimate Friendship and Fellowship

Based on commitment to the development of each other’s character

Freedom to deeply trust each other to be truly concerned about the other

  • Learn to be a comfort and support through his trials.

  • Help him to overcome his temptations.

  • Be willing to correct him when needed.

  • Be willing to work through conflicts.

  • Deepen your trust of each other.

  • Work to make God a deeper part of each other’s lives.

  • Pray together.

You and Alex and several other people have been good friends for a number of years. All of you have spent a lot of time together and have talked about a lot of things. You all go to the same church and are Christians. But then Alex starts to have some struggles. He is having a problem at his job and that is stressing him out. He has had an ongoing bad relationship with one of his relatives take a turn for the worse. The result has been that Alex has gotten moody and discouraged. He hasn’t been hanging around with the “gang” as often. Then you notice that when Alex is not around that the others start saying some bad things about him. They attribute some or all of his problems to a wrong attitude in his life or possibly even as a result of sin. You notice that when Alex is around, the others aren’t as friendly with him. You know that some of what they say is somewhat true but most of it isn’t.

  1. What are some practical things that you can do to try and help out Alex with his personal situations?

  1. What will you do the next time that your friends say negative things about Alex?

  2. Suppose one of your friends says, “Alex’s always in a lousy mood. If he’s going to act like that all of the time then he might as well stay home.” What should you say in response?

  3. Should you tell Alex what his friends have been saying about him? Why or why not?

  1. Have you ever been in a situation where some mutual friends were maligning one of your friends? What did you do? Would you have done anything different?


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Copyright Bob La Forge 2011        email: