“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Explanation and Commentary on Proverbs 18:24
There are all kinds of people. Some, for fear of loneliness, have not employed discernment when choosing close associations. There are all sorts of reasons that people compromise in this area. Perhaps they love to be liked above all else, so they will befriend anyone who will befriend them, ignoring the lack of reciprocation. Maybe they have been manipulated by someone who seeks some kind of gain for themselves.
For the Christian, all of our relationships should be Christ-centered. This will ensure that the friends we make, even if only a few, are the kind that are reliable. When making friends only on human terms, and emotional/psychological love alone, we will build friendships on shaky and weak foundations.
God calls us to love all others with his love, a Spiritual love, before closing any sort of emotional distance. Love your neighbor and your enemy with God’s perfect love. The “reliable” will come into your life as a result. The unreliable will stay away.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Proverbs 18:4
#1 “One who has unreliable friends…”
If all of your friends are unreliable, ask yourself if you are a reliable friend. Like attracts like. Even if you never meet another reliable person to befriend, befriend God and seek to become the most reliable person you know.
#2 “…soon comes to ruin,”
This person will come to ruin partially because of the unreliability in them that has attracted all these scoundrels. But even more, these unreliable friends will be a drag downward if given too much power in your life. The exception to this rule is the person strong in the Lord to whom God decides to bring those who he is transforming. David received the worst of the worst in the wilderness, and by association with him, they were transformed into “mighty men” (1 Sam 22:2; 2 Sam 23:8-38).
#3 “but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Seek to be this kind of friend, and you will find this kind of friend. This is a true Christ-centered relationship that has its foundation in love for God and love from God. Because of the Gospel, one accepts oneself exactly as one is (while seeking to grow), and can seek to love others the way God has loved him and given “his life for his friends” (1 Jn 3:16).
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Biblical Translations of Proverbs 18:24
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.