Qualities Help Maintain and Build Meaningful Friendships
By Kerry Martin
Lately, I have been reflecting on the many types of friends I have in my life. These include friendships within my family (siblings, parents, extended family) and relationships with co-workers and lifelong friends. It’s been said that friendship knows no bounds or age. Some of my friends live nearby and others live entire states away. I speak with some of these friends frequently, while I sometimes go months without speaking to others. I am blessed to have friends who are both younger and older than me.
I was recently discussing with one of these friends how to respond when a friend hurts your feelings, and what causes these situations to arise in some of our closest friendships. Our conversation quickly led us to the fruits of the spirit, a much-loved passage of Scripture: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
Love: Is this friendship motivated without an expectation of getting something in return?
Joy: Does this friendship bring you happiness in both good and trying times?
Peace: Do you have a sense of tranquility and wholeness in the friendship rather than just the absence of turmoil?
Patience: Does this friendship have the ability to endure mistreatment in the face of life’s irritations without lashing out?
Kindness: Are you serving your friends with grace and mercy or focusing selfishly on your own problems or desires?
Goodness: Does this friendship reflect good character in your life?
Faithfulness: Is there deceit or self-righteousness towards others in your life? Are you devoted faithfully to your friends?
Gentleness: Do you come across as brazen or audacious toward others?
Self-control: Are material desires controlling your friendships? Are you being directed in a way that is pleasing and serving others?
Are these qualities present in your friendships? Keeping these attributes in the forefront can guide how you should treat the loved ones in your life, and will help you to build and maintain healthier friendships.
Kerry Martin is the Office Coordinator at Youth Resources.