GOT KIDS? Proverbs and Helping Your Children with Friendships
Friendships and community are important aspects of sanctification and gifts from God. Wise choices in friendships will lead you to people who will refine you and be willing to lovingly confront you when needed. See Proverbs 24:26, 27:6; and 27:17.
But why is a good friend so hard to find? The reason is that sinners often sin when sinned against and your friends will sin against you. We will disappoint each other, quarrel and speak hurtful words. Proverbs 17:9 and Psalm 32:1 speak of the power of forgiveness and overlooking certain offenses so that in relationships, we can live out the gospel in many forms of reconciliation with one another.
In helping your children make choices on friends, there is a principle from Scripture to consider. I call it the Haggai 2 principle from Haggai 2:11-13, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Ask the priests about the law: ‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?’” The priests answered and said, “No.” Then Haggai said, “If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?” The priests answered and said, “It does become unclean.”
To summarize this, holiness does not spread to others but foolishness is contagious. Now this does not mean that someone cannot influence for the good, but generally when a kid who is on a good path matches up with a kid on a bad path, the path of companionship often ends up on the wrong path.
A parent’s responsibility is to give guidance, instruction and if necessary, interfere with the choices their child makes in regards to relationships. See Proverbs 1:10-19 for the pleas of a parent and what might happen if they do not listen.
What are some characteristics of a potential companion that Proverbs warns us to stay away:
2:12-15 – someone with perverted speech and does perverse of crooked things
3:31 – a violent person
4:14 – a wicked person who is opposed to purity
20:19 – a gossiper, slanderer, or babbler
22:10 – the scoffer
22:24 – an angry person
23:20-21 – drunkard or glutton
24:21 – rebellious to authority
Proverbs 6:12-15 breaks down the wicked or worthless person into 5 areas:
- Walks with a false mouth (gossip, slander, lies, immoral words, swears)
- Sins with the eyes (lustful looks, mocking, fault-finding)
- Signals with their feet (where they go)
- Points with their fingers (sends messages)
- Has a perverted heart (mischievous, rarely serious)
Your children need for you to point them in the right direction. Friendship starts with Christ who showed friendship by laying down his life for his friends (John 15:13)