The Evidence of a Good Friend (and a Bad One)

Doug Bender

June 15, 2021 | 3 minute read

People need people. It’s one of those basic truths of life. We all need friends to help us when we’re down and friends to laugh with us when we’re up. But all friendships are not created equal. Some are worth investing more into, while others can drag us down. Sometimes you even may wonder if you are the one bringing negative things into the friendships. So what makes a good friend, anyways? And what makes a bad one? There’s a lot of opinions and advice out there, but these key quotes from the Bible I’ve seen proven true in my life over and over again.

Good Friends Can Let Things Go. Bad Ones Never Do.

“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” 

Years ago I said something to a friend that I wished I hadn’t. I tried to make it right. But I couldn’t take my words back. I thought he forgave me. But it just kept coming up. Not all the time, but enough for me to know that he hadn’t let it go. After a while I found myself calling him up less and less. Now it's been years since we’ve talked. We never “broke up” as friends, but the relationship just withered. A good friend forgives. Sometimes, it's really that simple.

Good Friends Give Honest Advice

“The sweetness of a friend comes from their honest advice.”

I have a friend who is just fiercely loyal. This person is always on my side and always agreeing with my point of view. The problem? I’m not always in the right. I need my friends to help me see in those cloudy moments. It’s true I need loyalty and kindness, too. No one wants a friend who only ever points out your faults. But a friend who can’t help me see when my judgment is off, is not, in the end, going to be a very good friend. 

We Become the People We Surround Ourselves With

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” 

My wife and I made friends with a few people from our apartment building who loved to run. We began to get up on Saturday mornings to run together. One of those friends, Lisa, would always talk about that time she had run a marathon. And after so many Saturdays hearing about the thrill of running marathons, we began thinking about running one together. We started running further and further each Saturday. Until one Saturday we realized that whether we were planning on it or not, we had trained ourselves to run for hours on end and were ready to sign up for a marathon. The people we spent time with influence us. The important thing to know is what kind of race are our friends running?

Good Friends Stick Around. Bad Ones Run Away.

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” 

I remember each person who was there for me when my wife gave birth to a still-born child. It’s been years, but I remember who called, who dropped off groceries, which friend took us out to dinner to just get us out of the house. I don’t remember any particularly helpful pieces of advice or wise sayings. They were just there when I needed them. Sometimes I think maybe that’s why we have hard things come our way. It’s then that we discover the deeper friendships.

Good Friends Don’t Gossip

“A twisted person stirs up conflict. Anyone who talks about others separates close friends.” 

I was in sixth grade when I met Darryl. I was the new kid in town and Darryl was my first new friend. He seemed to know everything about everyone which made him a riot to talk with. We laughed together a lot, mostly at other people’s expense. At some point, I told him I had a crush on a girl in our class. It was literally the next morning that I discovered he’d told the entire class who I liked. I learned a sure lesson that day. People who gossip about others are surely gossiping about you, too. 


Some of these truths I wish I had learned earlier than I did. Which is why I’m sharing them with you. Hopefully, something I’ve shared with you can help you choose good friends and be a good friend. If you want more on this topic check out the newest film from I Am Second featuring Moralake Akinosun whose story is proof that good friends can be a powerful force in your life.

Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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