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Your friends: an elevator or cage?
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Your friends: an elevator or cage?

If there is any critical decision an individual must take in life, it is the choice of friends. The type of company we keep can make or break us. A popular English cliché aptly sums it up ‘show me your friend, and I will tell you who you are.’
If more friends must come into your life, then some must leave your life. Friendship needs to be tested before it can be trusted just as a Yoruba adage puts it, “Pretend to be dead while sleeping so as to know those who love you”. There have been stories of friends reposing confidence in one another only to get betrayed at the end of the day. There are some  friends who are just there to milk you dry and abandon you to your fate.
Ask yourself: The company I keep, is it adding value to my life or removing it? If you can’t get any clue as to whether you are making headway with your choice of friends, simply discard them.
If you were burning for Christ at one point of your life, and later found out that your relationship with God has eroded, consider your choice of friends and back out before it is too late if that is your source of spiritual erosion.
Remember, iron sharpens iron and a good friend compliments one another.

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Values of relationships – Man is a by-product of relationship. And Christianity is all about relationships – a vertical relationship with God and a horizontal relationship with others. And Jesus summed up the 10 commandments as love towards God and our fellow men. We need healthy relationships to live a fulfilled life.
Having a true friend is still one of the greatest and best relationships one can have. Friends are different from your parents because there are just some things you cannot do or share
with your parents that can be done and accepted by a friend. You can talk to your friends in more comfortable tones, share your secrets, success and fears with them. Your friend can be a source of advice, strength, encouragement and courage to you. A true friend will always be someone you can lean on.

Types of friends – The type of company you keep ultimately defines your character. Below are some of the types of friends we have:
(a) The back stabber/betrayer e.g. Judas and Jesus Christ.
(b) The takers/opportunists – They never contribute anything good to your life. They are only showing curiosity to always collect from you. And when there is nothing more to offer them, they leave. They are mere parasites.
(c) The one man show – They are interested in themselves alone and not bothered about you. They show up only when good times come your way.
(d) The one who secretly hates you – Outwardly, they appear friendly, but inside they are deadly like ravenous wolves.
(e) The true/trustworthy friends – They don’t hinder your relationship with God, they encourage it.
From the above, we can see that an elevator friend helps to move our life forward in the right way. Such friends add value to our life. But a cage of a friend would nudge us to indulge in sin or compromise godly values and standard. We need to get closer to the former and separate ourselves from the latter. They are destiny wasters. Be warned!

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Avoid bad company – Evil communication corrupts good manners. If you are a well mannered, tutored, full baked Christian youth, avoid half baked, outward Christians who can pollute your life. They tend to lower your high level spiritual standards saying ‘it does not matter, after all God understands’, ‘God is not as wicked as that’, ‘are you the mother of Jesus’, ‘Jesus’ grace covers that’, ‘you can ask for forgiveness’, ‘God is so merciful and kind’, etc. Like Solomon cautioned, ‘My son, if sinners entice you, consent thou not’.

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Be a loyal friend like David and Jonathan – The bond between David and Jonathan was so great that it could not be severed. Jonathan pledged his unalloyed loyalty to his friend, David, despite the plan of Saul, his father, to kill David.
If you also want a true friend, be a trustworthy and loyal friend too. Friendship is just like the law of magnetism: like charges repel, unlike charges attract.
Ponder on this poem:
If you are a friend for food, note that your friendship will not last for good.
If you are a friend for money, by the time you stumble you will be very sorry.
If you are a friend who cannot be trusted, ask yourself why am I so rusted.
If you desire a true friend, look for someone in need, help him/her and be a true friend indeed.

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