Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity (Psalms 133:1)-the joy of friendship. A friend is someone who you like so much and with whom you share things in common. Sometimes, you confide in a friend more than your siblings and parents, you feel at ease with such a person and there is good communication between good friends. Friends may share the same views and opinions with you. Despite the beauty of friendship however, there are good and bad friends. There is an adage which says “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are”. Therefore, a friend has the potential of influencing one to make right or wrong choices.
Friendship can be between two persons or more, of the same or different age groups, in people of same or opposite gender, between or among people of the same social status in the community, among professional colleagues and other categories not mentioned. God wants us to be united and live in peace among ourselves, but the consequences of flocking with bad friends are enormous. Friends can make or mar destiny, they have both positive and negative impacts in the lives of people. Depending on the type of people individuals associate with, destinies can be destroyed. Friends can also support each other to achieve desired dreams. Youths get along freely with friends and can easily get carried away if they associate with the wrong type of friends, thereby losing their godly foundation.
As sweet as friendship may be, friends have led so many to untimely death, separation / divorce in marriage, incurable diseases, unwanted pregnancy and even regrettable events through bad counseling. Some friends are cunning, envious, and jealous. They can rob their friends, disappoint or cheat on their peers at the least expected time. Some friends will add more values and encourage your positive potentials, while some will destroy your virtues and discourage your potentials. Some friends are temporary, they come around when times are pleasant, some are permanent and will hold on with supports through thick and thin. Friends have made some to fulfill their destinies while some friends have destroyed their friends’ destinies. Friends are vital in everyone’s lives, because you cannot live alone. To be physically, spiritually, socially and psychological balanced, you need to get along with peers and friends that will support you in life. You will surely meet different people at every stage of your development in your life time.
Parents are the first and original friends of children, and that is the main foundation that determines the features of friends their children will look out for when they are independent. This will also determine the kind of dispositions these children will display among their peers, which can be either positive or negative influences on others. The features of those that surround your life and decisions are very vital, you need enlightenment and wisdom from God with good guidance to choose good and God fearing friends that will not mar your destiny.
There are biblical examples of how friends influence destinies, either negatively or positively.
Jesus had friends in His days on earth; Jesus with Mary, Martha and Lazarus. (Luke 10:38 – 39, John 11:21 – 23). The only place where Jesus wept in the Bible was at the tomb of Lazarus, His friend. (John 11:35). The positive influence of friendship can be seen between David and Jonathan, Saul’s son. Jonathan protected David from harm and death, despite the fact that his father was the king,being aware that David would take over from his father; although Jonathan should have taken over the throne from his father, being the heir of King Saul, he protected David from being killed. David eventually became King after Jonathan’s death, and cared for the son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth. (I sam 18: 1- 3, I sam 19: 1 – 7). Ruth and Naomi, were friends too, Ruth stuck to her mother-in-law, or do we say mother-in-love, even in difficult times, with no hopes for a better tomorrow. (Ruth 1: 16 -17). Elijah and Elisha show another type of friendship. Elisha was a faithful follower; he was focused and followed his master till he got the double portion of his power. (2 kings 2:2), Daniel showed selfless attitude towards his friends; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, (Daniel 2: 49).
Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with a kiss, he pretended to be friendly while handling him over to his murderers. (Matthew 26: 16 – 17, Luke 22:48). Peter also denied Jesus. He had earlier vowed to follow him till death but later swore vehemently that he never knew him. For Job, his friends made his life bitter while in sorrow, rather than comforting him, they affirmed he was a sinner when they didn’t know the details of his life and doings. (Job 2: 11 – 13). Joseph’s brothers, out of jealousy, sold him to a strange land. They were moved with envy that they did not consider his pleas while they committed their heinous crime against him. (Gen 37: 1 – 4), David and Ahithophel; Ahithophel was David’s counselor who turned around to offer David’s adversary the advice that would have ended his life if God was not on his side. (2 Sam 15:10 – 17, 23; Psalm 41:9). Pharaoh’s cup bearer benefited from Joseph’s interpretation of his dreams which acted as comfort for him as the dream interpretation was real. He forgot Joseph when he was comfortable, despite Joseph’s plea to him to please remember him. If not for the dream Pharaoh had and God’s benevolence, Joseph would have rot in prison. (Gen 40: 1 – 23). The prodigal son’s friends in the strange land did not ask him where he got his money, they helped him squander it and later forsook him. It was at this time he remembered home and his loving father. (Luke 15:11 – 32).
If history were to be written today of the kind of friendship you had offered through your lifetime, which of these examples will fit your description? We are in the latter days, when there will be betrayals. Don’t let the spirit of the latter day betrayals take over you. Be a support to others on their way to progress on earth and eventually eternal bliss. God bless you. Amen.