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Friends are Essential

Healthy friendships are vital because they can provide encouragement, reassurance, and accountability. The support and encouragement from a friend are game changers. Knowing there is someone to go to when you're struggling who will support you through the good and the bad can create a comforting feeling. The words of a good friend are great for us as we read in Proverbs 16:24, "Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." This is true for anyone who has needed encouragement from a friend. Encouragement is a wonderful benefit in a friendship. Friendships can also harness other qualities besides encouragement, such as accountability, instruction, contentment, mourning, and more.

Friends who can speak about your life accurately can help keep you on the path you desire. When you are struggling, sometimes constructive criticism can be hard to accept. But if you can see what they are telling you as love rather than judgment, you can put yourself in a great position to learn from this type of advice. Nathan and David are wonderful examples of this. When David had committed heinous sins (adultery and murder), it was the prophet Nathan, a close friend, and advisor, who approached him and called him to repentance. Proverbs 27:6 guides us well, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy." It can sometimes feel hurtful when our friends help hold us accountable, but sometimes it takes painful intervention to overcome our brokenness.

"Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body."Proverbs 16:24

Furthermore, friends are excellent sources of advice because they love us and want the best for us. Proverbs 11:14 tells us that the counsel of many is precious, "where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." This is a critical need and blessing of healthy relationships.

Another reason friends are important is the fun, and happy moments you can have with them, which can help bring lightness and fulfillment to your life. For example, laughter with friends can benefit our mental and physical health. This allows us to relax and let our guard down and be ourselves. Ecclesiastes 8:15 says, "I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun."

There are times in life when we need a good cry. We could be dealing with the loss of a loved one, a medical diagnosis, a hurt inflicted by others, a bad grade, a battle with depression, or whatever else life might throw at us. Having a friend by our side to help us in those moments is vital. God created us to be in a community, especially when life gets hard. We are not meant to go through life alone. If this is true of the best moments in our lives, how much more accurate is it in the moments when life seems to be crumbling around us?

In conclusion, friends are essential. If you find you're at a point in life where healthy friendships are void, there is a friend you can always rely on. His name is Jesus. He is the perfect friend, and he fulfills all these reasons for having a friend and more. Most importantly, Jesus has helped us define who a true friend is. Jesus exhibited this to his disciples in John 15:15 when he said, "No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." God created you to be in a relationship and a community with others, but more importantly, you were made to be in communion and friendship with God.

Austin Dovin is an enrollment counselor and adjunct faculty for the College of Adult and Graduate Studies at Colorado Christian University.

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