|Credit to: Phaitoon|
For most of my life I’ve read Proverbs 12:26 as meaning we should choose our friends carefully. After all, that’s what my version of the Bible said: “The righteous choose their friends carefully,” but after reading a commentary and getting advice from a friend who is more experienced in the Hebrew language, I found out that the word “choose” in Hebrew is more accurately translated in this verse as meaning “guide”.
This means something totally different than I had thought! Instead of trying to encircle ourselves in all of the
people who we think will benefit us the most, we’re really supposed to “guide” our friends. What a responsibility!
If God is sovereign over the daily events of our lives, (and I believe He is), I think it’s safe to assume that the people He places into our lives are there for a good reason. I love how C. S. Lewis communicates this: “In friendship...we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years' difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another...the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting--any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends, "Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another." The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
As children of God we should desire to be around those who are actively striving to grow in their faith and who can strengthen our walk with the Lord (walking with the wise). But let’s not exclude those who don’t give us what we need (we may possibly be the person they need to walk with). Let’s strive to build up those in the household of faith who are struggling, bear with those who are weaker than us.
There may be unbelievers whom God has placed in our lives who are not the best to spend a lot of time around, but we can be a faithful friend to them when we do come in contact; guiding them and being salt and light to them.
We’ll know how to best guide our friends when we look to Jesus because our best example of a true friend is found in Him. All friendships are perfect opportunities to image forth grace, selflessness, and joy in Christ. Yes, even when it hurts. May we strive to be a good companion to those God has chosen for us and guide them with wisdom and find the joy and smiles it can bring to our lives.