“I will not know a wicked person. Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me…he that telleth lies shall not dwell with me.” (Psalm 101:4b-7)
People who are poor friend-choosers never do well in life. To purposely choose someone of questionable qualities indicates either feelings of inferiority (“I’m not worth anyone better), or aspirations of superiority (“I’m the more significant one in the friendship”). Either outlook makes for an unbalanced relationship that puts both in a bad light. Sifting the good candidates from the bad ones is a good measure of maturity. Here are a few guidelines as laid down by King David, who had experience with both kinds.
He says in verse four that he didn’t even want to know a “wicked person.” The truly wicked ones are pretty easy to spot, because they have “bad news” written all over them; but the “good old” boys and girls who consistently point out others’ real (and unreal) faults in order to make you think they are a better candidate for friendship, are another matter. They’re a little subtler and more costly; because, as you well know, this individual is telling those same people the same thing about you!
Then, in verse five, we find the proud person who needs to be the center of attention in any group, and who is not above questionable means to see that he or she gets it. These kinds of people share more experiences, tell more jokes, and regularly display more talents than anyone else. All this, with an unmistakable “high look” that dares others to try to top them.
Verse seven shines a light on the ever-present liars; and anyone with a liar for a friend is the biggest fool in town. Truthfulness, tempered with kindness, is a character trait that is almost as important in a friend as it is in oneself.
Who then, shall be my friend? Not to worry; David has given us a good place to start looking. “Mine eyes shall look upon the faithful of the land,” he says in verse six. Someone whose goal in life is faithfulness to God and His Word will be one whose faithfulness spills over to parents, spouses, children, employers…and friends. The kind of friends to whom I refer need not be great in number; in fact, a horde may be a sign of indiscriminate judgment.
I am blessed with some friends like this; and next to Jesus Christ (my best Friend), my husband (my next best friend), and my family, these dear souls are my most priceless treasures in life. These tried and proved companions have earned the right be called true friends. Their faces swim before my eyes even now, and I raise my heart in thanksgiving to God for the blessing of their friendship.
“The mark of a perfect Friendship is not that help will be given when the pinch comes (of course it will), but that having been given, it makes no difference at all.” — C.S. Lewis