Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria.

I heard the story recently of a man who sent flowers as a housewarming gift to a friend. When he visited the friend’s new home, he noticed the card on the bouquet read, “Rest in peace dear friend.” Well, the man was not happy at all about this mistake and went to see the florist.

He angrily asked the florist why he got the words wrong on the card for his friend. The florist turned kind of pale and didn’t answer the man right away. Then sheepishly he replied, "I’m just wondering how the family felt whose loved one passed and they got your flowers." That card read, “It gives me great joy to know you’re in your new home.”

That was not a good day for that florist. Intentions can be so well-meaning but without the right actions can also create quite a mess.

Nowhere is that more important to take than in our relationships. Healthy and happy relationships take both the right intentions and the right action plan.

Here are three things real friends do for each other. First, they help us think better. We all enter adulthood with things we’ve learned well, learned wrong and didn’t learn at all. That’s why we are better at some things than others. And that’s where friends can be a great help — by filling in the gaps in our life. Proverbs says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17 NLT).

Ruth in scripture was a woman who decided to live differently than she was raised. She had a spiritual mother in Naomi who helped her see the difference living with better values and character could make. Ruth’s decision to live differently paid amazing dividends. Ruth’s values and character led her to the man of her dreams and a place in the lineage of King David and Jesus.

Friends also help us feel better. They provide the emotional support and strength necessary in life. The scripture says, “The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense” (Proverbs 27:9). Good friends help us feel strong enough to make our tough decisions in life.

As a young believer, I remember praying earnestly for my mother to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus. I got a little discouraged one day and complained to my friend about how hard it was to keep believing. He lovingly rebuked me and reminded me that it was not too hard for God. And he was right. I’m so glad he helped me hang in there. He helped me make a decision I’ll enjoy throughout eternity in heaven.

Lastly, friends help us grow better. They sow into our lives what makes them significantly better. All of us have dreams and desires that we want to see realized. Good friends help us grow into the people who can see them come true. Paul reminds us that godliness with contentment brings great gain. It really is true — building godly friendships always brings greater blessings.

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Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. Visit myffc.com.

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