Do you ever notice how difficult it can be when you first meet someone to know whether they have the potential to be a good friend or if they are just a fan? Knowing a fan versus a friend can give your life direction. We all have roles to play in life. We have people that come in our life for a reason, a season and sometimes for life. Not everyone that comes in our lives are meant to stay.
In todays world we have people we call friends or followers through social media but how many of these people do we really know and take the time to care for? I have had friends I thought were for me and good natured, only to later on discover how they were a fan and some of them, even went from friend to fan to fool. So how can we tell the difference and how do we navigate the people in our life? Let’s dive in.
Recognize fans by patterns of behavior
A fan will sing your praises and cheer for you, if you are winning. Sitting far enough back so that they can leave when it no longer benefits them and close enough, if there is something to be gained. Fans will seek to get rather than give. They are driven by their selfish needs and desires. On the plus side, fans may like what you produce but that’s as far as it goes. If any one of us chooses to live a “fan only” life we can seclude ourselves from authentic relationships, never really knowing anyone and living a lonely life.
Recognize true friends
A friend by definition is a person who knows and has a bond of mutual affection. They aren’t just there in the convenient times. True friends show up no matter the time or obstacles. A true friend will show up in your most vulnerable times and will show up to celebrate in your victories.
The Bible is a great resource for understanding what a true friend is:
Proverbs 17:17- A friend loves at all times
To “love at ALL times” means that we lay down our own selfish agenda to meet the needs of our friend. We listen, observe and communicate what is needed for our friend. In the end, it could come back to hurt us. However when it is done in genuine love and really is helpful with our friend, then we have learned to embrace this scripture on some level.
Proverbs 27:10- Do not forsake your friend
Forsake is defined as abandonment. A true friend knows the destruction abandonment has on a person and will not jump ship at the first sign of trouble. “Ghosting” should not be the norm in society and yet it is. Why are people cowards when it comes to having a real conversation that may require some confrontation? What will you lose? Better yet …what will you gain?
Proverbs 27:6- Rebukes in love
A true friend rebukes in love. Proverbs 27:6 states: “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.” Friends will tell you the truth even if it hurts you because they want the best for you. The motive for them is that you live free and your best life. Jesus rebuked many people because he loved them and wanted what was best for them. Some received it and some did not…well many did not.
Examples of friends:
Johnathon & David from the Bible (1 Samuel 18-20)
The more I dug in the original language of the Bible, I discovered how intimate Jonathon and David were as friends. They faced tough circumstances and endured it together. Jonathon’s loyalty gets me choked up. He choses David over his father, putting his own life at risk. Johnathon is the perfect example of a Proverbs 17:17 friend. Johnathon loved David “as his own soul.”
Jesus and John
In John 13:13 John is referred to as “the disciple who Jesus loved.” If you look at who was at the cross when Jesus took his last breath, it was John. He was the only one out of twelve disciples there, along with the women. John showed up when no one else did.
Abraham and God
Abraham who is known for his incredible faith and obedience is called a “friend of God.” In scripture you see God’s protection all around Abraham.
Jesus and You
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13
You will never find a greater friend than Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross he was thinking about you. He died a painful death so that you and I could experience a loving relationship with him today and forever into eternity one day.
5 Ways To Know You Have A Lifelong Friendship