How can we find true friendship in this often phony, temporary world? Friendship involves recognition or familiarity with another's personality. Friends often share likes and dislikes, interests, pursuits, and passion.

Genuine friendship involves a shared sense of caring and concern, a desire to see one another grow and develop, and a hope for each other to succeed in all aspects of life. True friendship involves action: doing something for someone else while expecting nothing in return; sharing thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or negative criticism.

True friendship involves relationship. Those mutual attributes we mentioned above become the foundation in which recognition transpires into relationship. Many people say, "Oh, he's a good friend of mine," yet they never take time to spend time with that "good friend." Friendship takes time: time to get to know each other, time to build shared memories, time to invest in each other's growth.

Trust is essential to true friendship. We all need someone with whom we can share our lives, thoughts, feelings, and frustrations. We need to be able to share our deepest secrets with someone, without worrying that those secrets will end up on the Internet the next day! Failing to be trustworthy with those intimate secrets can destroy a friendship in a hurry. Faithfulness and loyalty are key to true friendship. Without them, we often feel betrayed, left out, and lonely. In true friendship, there is no backbiting, no negative thoughts, no turning away.

True friendship requires certain accountability factors. Real friends encourage one another and forgive one another where there has been an offence. Genuine friendship supports during times of struggle. Friends are dependable. In true friendship, unconditional love develops. We love our friends no matter what and we always want the best for our friends.

True friendship stories are found throughout the Bible. In Genesis, we read about God sharing His intentions with Abraham. Abraham responds by telling God his thoughts and feelings about the situation. God and Abraham are able to do this because they trust and respect each other.

First Samuel focuses on the friendship of David and Jonathan. These two men truly cared for each other and had great trust and confidence in one another. David was running for his life from Jonathan's father, Saul. Jonathan recognized that David was innocent. Because of the true friendship they shared, David survived Saul's assassination attempts and went on to become one of Israel's greatest kings.

Relationships in real life involve different levels of friendships, and that's okay. But humans are designed by God for lasting relationships. Often our isolationist society offers only vague, empty relationships. God wants us to have friends here on earth. Most of all, He wants us to be friends with Him!

Do you need a friend? God wants to be your true friend. Are you longing for companionship? God is always with you (Hebrews 13:5). Who do you know who needs a true friend today? God wants you to befriend others. He calls us to be His hands and feet in a world starving for true friendship. 

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