• Heidi J. Smith

5 Marks of Genuine Friendship

Photo credit to Omar Lopez from Unsplash

Who listens to your secrets? Who do you call when your world crumbles?

Knocking quietly on the door, my friend surprised me. She smiled and handed me a flowery package. "I know your birthday isn't for a few days, but I wanted you to have it," she said.

My eyes misted. Even though miles and busy schedules have separated us in the past, her friendship remained. She remembered my birthday, knew my blessings, and prayed for my burdens.

Sitting in my living room while my kids buzzed around, we shared our hearts. She didn't mention the dirty dishes in the sink, or the pile of laundry to be folded. She listened and cared.

After she left, my heart overflowed with thankfulness. A true friend.

What marks a genuine friend?

The Bible records a close friendship between Jonathan and David.

After David defeated Goliath, Jonathan and David became friends. Their friendship weathered good and bad times. Prince Jonathan committed himself to David because he loved him. What glued their hearts together?

1. Faithful

While David fled from King Saul and until Jonathan died, Jonathan encouraged and supported David. Jonathan said to David, "Whatever you say, I will do for you."

I Samuel 20:4 ESV

Loyalty and faithfulness are desired in a companion (Proverbs 3:3). A friend is loyal.

2. Loving

"Jonathan once again swore to David in his love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself." I Samuel 20:17 ESV

Friendship is not contingent on favorable circumstances, but rather accepts you all the time (Proverb 17:17). A friend is loving.

3. Honest

Jonathan promised to tell David of any evil plans against him (I Samuel 20:9).

If encouragement or rebuke is needed, a true friend tells you (Proverb 27:6). A friend is trustworthy, even to carry your deepest secrets.

4. Caring

When David hid from King Saul, David and Jonathan wept together (I Samuel 20:41).

A friend cries with you in the hard times and rejoices with you in the good times (Romans 12:15). A friend is compassionate.

5. Kind

After Jonathan died, King David honored their friendship. He searched for any remaining relative from Saul's family and found Jonathan's son Mephibosheth. He showered kindness on Mephibosheth by giving him land, servants, and a place at his table (2 Samuel 9:1-12).

A friend thinks more about you than himself (Phil. 2:3). A friend is considerate.

A genuine friend is faithful, loving, honest, caring, and kind.

We are blessed to have a friend like this.

Are we being authentic friends?

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Heidi J. Smith