It’s been said that if you find one true friend in your lifetime, you are truly blessed. I must admit that I have been blessed beyond measure. I have many people that I consider to be true friends. I have had the ultimate blessing by being married to my best friend for the last 43 years.
We can all, I’m sure, come up with different ideas of what a true friend is, or what they would bring into a relationship. We might say that a true friend is a person that makes me happy, or that brings out the best in us, or someone that is there for us when we go through deep trials. I believe that a true friend would possess all of those qualities, and more.
God’s definition of friendship goes much deeper than how we look at our relationships with others. The greatest friend that has ever lived would be Jesus Christ Himself. He declared in John 15:13 “ Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” The Lord demonstrated His love for mankind by sacrificing His life, to pay the penalty for our sins. He suffered so that we don’t have to. He went on to say in John 15:14 “ Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” It is a reciprocal type of friendship. He gave His life and we, as His friends, are to obey His Word. The proof of our friendship with Christ is our obedience.
The Word of God has much to say about friendship. Abraham is called a friend of God. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that said and written about us for all eternity? I want us to look into some Scriptures, and put our friendships to the test, and see how they measure up.
- What kind of a friend am I? Proverbs 18:24 “ A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Some people would say they don’t have many friends, and the ones they have are not all that close. Could it be that we’re not the kind of friends to others that we want them to be to us? I have notice down through the years that people that don’t appear to have many friends are not all that pleasant to be around. It’s not that a person is always mean, it is just that they are not friendly. I know it is hard for some people to reach out, but if we want true friends, we need to be one ourselves first.
- Are our friendships conditional? Proverbs 17:17 “ A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” A true friend is not a “fair weathered” type of friend. When things aren’t going well in your life, a true friend will be beside you supporting you through your difficulties. A real friend’s love is not conditioned on circumstances. When our lives are falling apart, we shouldn’t need to look very far to find those that truly care. The “prodigal son” had lots of friends as long as he was spending up all his inheritance. As soon as the money ran out, so did his friends. May God help us to be a “through thick and thin” kind of a friend.
- A true friend will tell us the truth, no matter how bad it hurts. Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Telling a friend the truth can be very risky. Many times they won’t want to hear what we are saying. The best type of friend is willing to risk the friendship to help the person they care about. Seeing a friend make bad choices is hard to watch, but trying to intervene in a situation by pointing out potential hazards, can be deadly to a relationship. If we have pure motives and are really trying to help a friend by telling a painful truth, we are being a true friend. The truth may not be immediately appreciated, but if we can help a friend avoid disaster or heartache, then we are the right type of friend!!
So, how do we measure up? Being and choosing the right type of friends is work. My wife will comment from time to time about how much she appreciates people that work at being a friend. A true friend is hard to find, but once we have found them, we need to cherish their friendship. We also must strive to be a true friend. Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”