This week we looked at how we are to connect others with Christ. Think about a 3-legged race. A great way to get hurt, but think about the dynamics of how this works. If one member is weak they usually drag the other down. This is how it works in our connections with other people, especially in our friendships. We took the time to write down a list on a dry-erase board of "Qualities of a Good Friend" and "Qualities of a Bad Friend". Some of the good qualities were: good listener, trustworthy, respects, encourager, etc. Some of the bad qualities were: liar, thief, bad communicator, back-stabber, etc. After getting a picture of what a friendship should look like we took a look at the example Jesus taught His disciples about in John 15:12-17. Jesus gives us the picture perfect example of a friendship. In fact He was describing his relationship with us and how He befriends us, if we allow Him to. We went through discussing each verse and discussed these points and more: 1) Jesus begins and ends this section of Scripture with pretty much the same statement, by giving us the command to love one another; 2) Jesus says in verse 13 that the greatest love a friend has for another is to lay down their life for them. Of course this is before Jesus died on the cross for each and every one of us. This shows us the greatest love of all.
Now that the good qualities of a friendship have been discussed, we looked at the negative impact of being around bad company. Proverbs 22:24-25 shows us why is it important to not be around angry people because it rubs off on us. The same is spoken in 1 Corinthians 15:33 that tells us that bad company corrupts our morals. If we are around people with bad qualities, they are more than likely to rub off on us. What should take place within our friendships is what Proverbs 27:17 says that we sharpen each other. When we consider our relationship with Jesus, if we are spending time with Him as we should then He will be sharpening us. We then should be sharpening our other friends as we set a godly example. As we closed with a time of prayer I challenged the students to ask God to search their hearts and reveal to them if they are being a negative or positive influence on their friends, and also if their friends are being a positive or negative influence on themselves. I then challenged them to not only think of ways that they can be a better friends, but to make a decision to actually do those things.