Do you have some really good friends, the kind who build your faith and encourage you in the Lord? I hope so. Those good friends are not in your life by accident. You have a responsibility to them. In Proverbs 17:17 we read, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” A good friend is loyal and is there when things are tough. Have you been that kind of friend?

“At all times” includes those times when a friend may not be giving you what you need in the relationship. But if you’re the friend you should be, you will love “at all times,” even when it is not reciprocated. “At all times” includes the middle of the night or in the midst of a busy schedule. Can you think of some good friends who need a listening ear or a helping hand? It’s not an accident that God has put you in their lives to help them.

In Romans 12:15, we see where we are to: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Do you know a friend going through a rough time? Perhaps you are there in their life to cry with them. Or perhaps a friend who has just had something wonderful happen—have you celebrated with that friend? That’s your responsibility; that’s one reason they’re in your life.

In Proverbs 27:6 we read: “Wounds from a friend can be trusted…” That sounds strange, doesn’t it? A good friend wouldn’t wound us, would they?

A friend told me of a woman in her Bible study who was complaining that God didn’t seem very close to her anymore. She just couldn’t pray like she used to. She kept talking in these vague generalities, and my friend, Nancy, kept probing with love and gentleness, until finally this woman confessed that there was an area in her life where she was being disobedient to God. The next day she called Nancy and said, “Thank you for not letting me get by with my weak excuses and forcing me to face myself. I didn’t like it at the time, but I needed to get that out in the open.”

Nancy wounded her, gently and with great love and concern, but in so doing she helped her to get things right with the Lord and restore fellowship with him. Now, you have to earn your right to be a friend who wounds. We can do great damage to a friendship if we do this kind of thing in the wrong way at the wrong time. But I have friends who certainly have earned their right to be a friend who wounds, and how I thank God for those friends. Those are wounds that can be trusted.

Think about your good friends and ask the question: What is my purpose in their lives and what is their purpose in mine? They’re not in your life by accident.