Close friends add to our happiness during good times, and they strengthen us during hard times. But the Bible warns us that not everyone is a good friend. So how can you choose good friends? Consider the following questions.
1. How will the friends you choose affect you?
We tend to become like the people we spend time with. This can be good or bad—and that is true whether we spend time with them in person or on social media. As the Bible says, “the one walking with the wise will become wise, but the one who has dealings with the stupid [those who do not love Jehovah] will fare badly.” (Proverbs 13:20) Friends who love and worship Jehovah can help you to stay close to him and to make good decisions. But close friends outside the congregation can cause us to draw away from Jehovah. No wonder the Bible encourages us to choose our friends wisely! When our friends are people who love God, we benefit both ourselves and them. We are able to “keep encouraging one another and building one another up.”—1 Thessalonians 5:11.
2. How will your choice of friends affect Jehovah?
Jehovah chooses his friends carefully. “His close friendship is with the upright.” (Proverbs 3:32) How would Jehovah feel if we were to choose friends who do not love him? He would be very disappointed! (Read James 4:4.) On the other hand, Jehovah will be pleased and will choose us as friends if we reject bad association and draw close to him and to those who love him.—Psalm 15:1-4.
Examine why our choice of friends is so important, and see how you can develop friendships that will truly enrich your life.
4. People who are different from us can become our good friends
The Bible describes David and Jonathan, two men in ancient Israel. They were very different in age and circumstances; yet, they had a remarkable friendship. Read 1 Samuel 18:1, and then discuss this question:
Why do our friends not always have to come from our own age group or social status?
Read Romans 1:11, 12, and then discuss this question:
How can friends who love Jehovah encourage each other?
In this dramatization, see how one young brother found friends in unexpected places. Play the VIDEO, and then discuss the questions that follow.
In the video, why were Akil’s parents concerned about his friendships at school?
What factors initially made those friendships appealing to him?
How was he able to overcome his loneliness?
5. How to cultivate good friendships
How do real friends help each other?
Do you have good friendships like that? If not, how could you develop some?
Read Philippians 2:4, and then discuss this question:
To have good friends, you need to be a good friend. How can you do that?
SOME PEOPLE SAY: “Any friends are better than no friends at all.”
What would you say?
When we choose our friends wisely, we please Jehovah and benefit ourselves.
Why does Jehovah care about our choice of friends?
What kind of friendships should we avoid?
How can you build strong friendships with the right sort of people?