Dads need friends, too.
No, this isn’t a version of “dad self-care” encouraging more therapeutic “me” time. It’s this: You as a dad need to be giving and taking part of godly friendship from God’s perspective.
We as dads do need to impart the kind of friendship counsel to our children that Solomon gave to his son in Proverbs. But we also need to sit under that counsel ourselves.
“Googling” the topic of friendship in Proverbs yields many search results, and I’d like to sort and offer them to us as dads. I’d like to help frame your thinking about this short list.
Characteristics of godly friendship.
“No truly worthwhile friendship is ‘found.’ It is built….”1 We as dads can’t wait for friendship to just tap us on the shoulder or punch us in the face; it’s something we should actively pursue.
1. Good friends are faithful.
A godly guy friend “loves at all times” (Prov. 17:17). Do you have a friend who is faithful to be there for you, especially when you’re having a tough time? Like when you’re struggling in sin, or working through a concern with a child. Is he there cheering you when you receive a blessing?
If you’ve been on the receiving end of a friend’s faithfulness to you, you know the deep encouragement that it is. Are you reciprocating or perhaps initiating that kind of faithfulness to another guy friend?
In contrast to the “many companions” who could still leave a guy in trouble, are you the kind of “friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24)?
2. Good friends appropriately cover your failings.
A godly friend cares well for you and the concerns and struggles you share. The sin you’ve committed or struggled with is something a godly friend stewards carefully.
Appropriately covering an offense earns trust and evidences love; passing along the hint of a problem to someone else erodes that trust and “separates close friends” (Prov. 16:28; 17:9). Find and be a friend that gives grace in the face of another’s failings.
3. Good friends say the right thing to you, no matter what.
No one enjoys being shown how they’ve been wrong or maybe just a little dumb on something. But a godly friend will show his true concern by overcoming that natural obstacle. He’ll go ahead and share with you the thing that maybe no one else cared enough about you to share.
Working through a challenging issue with a godly friend alongside is a friendship-deepening experience. Indeed, the “sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel” (Prov. 27:9).
Whether it’s related to our parenting or our “husbanding,” we as dads need to be willing to ask for and receive that kind of sharpening from another brother. And be ready and willing to give that sharpening.
Good friends attract good friends.
If you in humility and kindness desire that kind of sharpening from another godly guy, chances are, you’ll find it. Your own “purity of heart” and ‘gracious speech’ will naturally invite good friendship.
But if you simply wait for the godly friend to show up, and in the meantime bemoan the lack of godly guys in your life, chances are, he won’t come. As a dad seeking to grow in godliness yourself, you must be the godly friend and initiate godly friendship.
Good friends are a catalyst for growth.
As you develop godly friendship with that brother in your church, just be ready. If you’re both seeking to be in the Word and responding rightly to it and sharpening one another accordingly, it’s going to have positive effects. It will ultimately help you be a better dad, husband, church leader, employee, Christian.
Send that text. Set up that coffee. Ask for help with that project. Get the relationship started. And see what God can do through His means of godly friendship.
Gary Inrig, Quality Friendship, 17. ↩