20Follow the example
of good people
and live an honest life.
21If you are honest and innocent,
you will keep your land;
22if you do wrong
and can never be trusted,
you will be rooted out.
17Just as iron sharpens iron,
friends sharpen the minds
of each other.
It is not good for us to be alone. We were created to be in community. Friendship is one of the great gifts God has given us to live a happy and fulfilling life. Spending time with someone whose company you enjoy is a great pleasure, and those who are lonely are often in a place dangerous to their own well-being. That being said, this natural bent towards having friends can often go very wrong when not put in the perspective of God. Many people now sit in jail because they became too close to those who loved to do wrong. Show me your friends, and I will show you the state of your spiritual life.
There are all sorts of bad friendships: caused by co-dependence, abuse, dishonesty, money-lending, temptation, and conspiracy. When sin is let loose between two or more people the damage can be devastating. This is why it is so important to have good friends – people who love God and pursue Wisdom. They will inspire you to do likewise, and you can work together to help others.
A good friendship is like iron sharpening iron – you both are better off for it. When you look at their example it encourages you to push farther into goodness, and you hope your own life will do the same for them. Your weaknesses are often balanced by their strengths and vice versa. Walking the path of Wisdom together makes it that much more effective and fun.
God loves friendship. In fact Jesus came to the earth and made friends with real live people. He loved them, and even cried when they died. The love we have for a good friend is not a weakness, but a chance to grow in Wisdom together, and learn to live an honest life in community.
Triune God, eternal community of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you made us to enjoy friendships, give us good friends who chase after Wisdom, so that we may encourage one another and walk the path of life together in the way of Jesus, in whose name we pray, Amen.