What gladness of heart it brings to have genuine friends. Consider yourself blessed when you have a friend who corrects you when you do wrong! Not all friends do that. And when you have that kind of friendship, cherish it like a treasure because it is exactly that — a priceless treasure!
Friends are the unspoken bond of support, trust, and care. They are like extended families. We may not be related by blood, but the bond is as precious as someone who is of kin. As David and Jonathan, a shepherd boy and the son of the King of Israel who became best friends, we also develop that kind of special bond with another person. “Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.” -1 Samuel 18:3. If you found this kind of friendship as David and Jonathan had, perhaps, you may see yourself as blessed by the Lord with such a faithful friend in your life.
Choose friends who can give earnest counsel. The Bible is very clear that not all of the persons we meet can be good friends. We are asked to choose our friends wisely. “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'” -1 Corinthians 15:33. Indeed there are companies who can provide us with the pleasure and fun that we always look forward to but they are not the kind of friends who can lead us to the right path. They may be supportive in our pleasures but they may not be there when the tide is against us. A friend who truly loves us should be able to support us in the right manner. A faithful friend cannot tolerate our wrongdoings and will counsel us to the right path even if it may hurt us. A friend will correct us if we commit mistakes and will gently prod us to what is right. That is what the love of a genuine friend should look like. The Bible says that love always chooses what is right and truthful. “It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” -1 Corinthians 13:5-6. This is how we know that we have a faithful friend. That friend would always help us to be better persons. That friend will always uphold what is true and what is right. “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” -Proverbs 27:9. Earnestness is being sincere or having intense conviction. A sincere friend gives wise counsel.
Earnest friends show love and support. Because I am not a very sociable person, I do not have a very large group of friends. Although, I can be with anybody, I do not have that large community of friends. I think, this is quite natural for introverts like me. Since, we introverts, find our self as the most favorable companion for the most part of our time, it is not a surprise to see us with just a handful of close friends. But I am so blessed that these handful of close kindred spirits I have are friends who are godly, supportive, honest, and kind. They are one of my treasures in this life. Earnest friends are the ones who readily show concern, support, and love to us. Near or far, we can trust them with our secrets, with our failures, and with the mistakes we have done. They are always ready to give their listening ear or a word of prayer. They listen without prejudice or judgement. They counsel us to the right way. These are earnest friends. The Bible describes their friendship as sweet. Think of your favorite chocolate or ice cream that gives you the sugar rush! Earnest friends give us that kind of sugar rush. That kind of sweetness that leaves tingling feeling of gladness through and through!