Let’s consider the following passages:
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Prov. 17:17)
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Prov. 18:24)
“Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend, and do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity. Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away.” (Prov. 27:10)
True friends are those who stick around not only in the good times, but also in the bad. They are there for you whenever you need them. Do you have someone like that in your life? Are you yourself that person for your own friends?
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Prov. 27:17)
“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” (Prov. 27:9)
“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” (Prov. 27:5-6)
You know that guy who is your “yes man”? You know, the one who will tell you only what you want to hear, only what he thinks will please you? Don’t be that guy to your friends. Because that guy is not really your friend. He doesn’t care about you. He only cares about himself. He wants you to like him, no matter what. Don’t be that guy. If your friend is making a big mistake, and you really care about him…then you need to tell him. And if you have a friend like that, you need to be humble enough to have an open mind for the counsel — and rebukes — he gives you. The providence of God might just be manifested in your life by Him giving you friends like that.
“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” (Prov. 17:9)
“Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.” (Prov. 20:19)
If your friend — or anyone, for that matter — tells you something in confidence, then keep it secret. If it is illegal and/or has the potential to seriously hurt himself, you, or others, that’s a different story…and tell your friend that up front. However, outside of those exceptions, be a real friend…the kind of friend who is not a gossip. The kind of friend your own friend can trust. And if you find that you have a friend who has broken your trust by sharing what you had told him in confidence, then know he is not your friend.