The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Life - This col­umn is based on the words and writ­ings of the late Rev. Billy Gra­ham.

Q: Q:I feel like I am used, even abused, by my friends. When they need help, they call on me and treat me like one of them; but when it comes to other ac­tiv­i­ties, I never hear from them. – D.F.

A: A:Of­ten people will as­sume re­spon­si­bil­ity of an abuser’s be­hav­ior because they are afraid of los­ing friend­ships. But the question is, what is a true friend? So­cial me­dia has re­de­fined the mean­ing of friend. We must be care­ful to choose our friends wisely. The world may talk grandly of lov­ing oth­ers, but in re­al­ity its phi­los­o­phy is “each man for him­self.” The Bi­ble says, “The right­eous should choose (friends) care­fully” (Proverbs 12:26).

But it is also im­por­tant to ex­am­ine our own hearts when dif­fi­cul­ties arise in re­la­tion­ships. When we have suf­fi­ciently, be­fore God, asked Him to re­veal what we might have done wrong and cor­rected it and the prob­lem con­tin­ues, then we may need to turn to another question: Are our friends un­com­fort­able with our liv­ing in a way that pleases God rather than liv­ing a life that pleases them, caus­ing them to feel con­victed by their ac­tiv­i­ties?

If friends ex­clude you from par­ties or other ac­tiv­i­ties this may be the rea­son. If so, take heart that you are fol­low­ing God rather than people. If we take a stand for liv­ing right be­fore God, this may mean that we are scorned by fam­ily and friends. Liv­ing for truth is not pop­u­lar. Friends can prove fickle, but Chris­tians can take com­fort in know­ing that there is a Friend who stands with us, who doesn’t leave us or for­sake us. Je­sus is that friend and says, “You are My friends if you do what­ever I com­mand” (John 15:14).

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