I like the story about the guy who was celebrating his one hundredth birthday. A reporter was interviewing him. He said, “Here you are celebrating your hundredth birthday today, what are you most proud of?” “Well,” the man said, “I don’t have an enemy in the world.” The reporter was moved. He said, “What a beautiful thought! How inspirational!” “Yep,” said the old man, “I’ve outlived every last one of them.”
Experts are telling us that Americans have fewer close friends today than just a couple of decades ago. Why is that? Let me give you some thoughts on why we live in such an unfriendly world.
1. We get distracted by our own personal agendas and schedules. - We have become so busy that we don’t take time to be a friend to someone else.
2. Selfishness. - While we want others to do for us, we really do not want to go out of our way for others.
3. Unforgiveness. - Friends are human. They make mistakes that can sometimes hurt us. If you can’t forgive, you’re not going to have friends for very long.
How do we have friends?
1. Be a Friend.
An ancient proverbs says, “To have friends you must first be a friend.” Many people don’t have friends simply because they are not “friendly.” It is hard to make friends if you’re critical, negative, or fault-finding. A lot of people are like Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown asked Linus one day, "What would you do if you felt that nobody liked you?" Linus says, "Well, Charlie Brown, I guess I would take a real hard look at myself, ask if I am doing anything that turns people off, How can I improve myself? Do I need to change in some way? That’s my answer" Charlie Brown says, "I hate that answer."
2. Make Sacrifices for Others.
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). A friend is willing to make sacrifices when you need them.
3. See the Best in Others.
A true friend sees good in us that others can not. A friend encourages you by saying, "I believe in you." A true friend seeks the best in others.
4. Practice Loyalty.
In the Bible the Proverbs writer states, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Elsewhere he states, “A friend loves at all times.” A friend loves in the good times and in the bad times. A British publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. Thousands of answers were submitted but the winning answer was: “A friend is one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”
5. Seek the Success of Others.
I am really surprised when a friend becomes jealous over the success of another friend. A true friend will rejoice when others succeed. Ronald Reagan once said “There’s no limit to what we can accomplish if we don’t care who gets the credit.”
6. Speak the Truth.
The Proverbs writer in the Bible said, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.” A true friend will always tell the truth because he/she want what’s best for you. Oscar Wilde said “A true friend stabs you in the front.” You want a friend to be honest with you. You don’t want a friend who tells you only what you want to hear or agrees with you even if you’re wrong or heading in the wrong direction. A true friend is honest and truthful even when it hurts.
7. Stands Up for Others.
King Solomon of ancient Israel said, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.” Life is a series of battles. We all know what it is like to be attacked. A true friend is there to stand up for others who cannot stand up for themselves and when others are attacking.
If you practice these seven things you will have many friends because you will be known as a friendly person.
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