Proverbs 17:17 reads, “A friend loveth at all times and a brother is born for adversity.” What does this mean to the child of God? Brothers don’t get along well. But friends love at all times. They don’t fight. They love each other and desire to be together.
Love is one of the many virtues that result from that all-important virtue friendship. You can’t possibly have a friendship without love. This means that love is shown in joy, sorrow and sin, as Proverbs tells us, at all times.
What exactly is friendship? There are many definitions of the term. Often, it is used in a very broad sense, for example, you might say, “I don’t know her very well, but she’s my friend.” There the better term may be “acquaintance.” Others view the term friendship as a relationship of strong bonds between two or more people. Bonds symbolize glue, and glue sticks things together. This indicates that true Christian friends can tell each other everything and trust the person to keep it a secret. Friends – true friends – don’t laugh or mock when you have a problem. They sit down with you – and a Bible – and help you to solve your problem in the light of God’s Word.
The Biblical definition of friendship goes something like this: The covenant of grace which God shares with His people in love through Christ. We are called as Christians to pattern our friendships after this one perfect friendship.
Just the other day, I had the opportunity to talk to a person in this school about what friendship meant to her. Friendship meant having one especially close person who is “best” friends only with you. That person is someone you can tell everything and who will understand and not laugh. Someone who is a Christian and who believes what you believe. Someone who won’t participate in the worldly sins such as movies, dancing, drugs and drinking. That’s true friendship.
Friendship is also caring. I recently read a story in the Reader’s Digest called A Town that Cared. It was about a boy in high school who needed a heart transplant. His community raised $80,000 to pay for his anti-rejection drugs which his insurance wouldn’t cover. In God’s eyes, that is true friendship for He tells us in Matt. 25:40, “In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
These are characteristics of what our friendships should be like, but what are they really like? Our friendships are full of sin. All of us have held grudges and been angry with our friends. There is jealousy and a certain amount of competition. Peer pressure is always a problem. For example, we were once riding in a car full of kids and we passed by Studio 28. Everybody wanted to go in except me and my best friend. These are times when you must stick together and hold up what is right. Proverbs 18:24 states this when it says, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
Friendships aren’t easy. You have to work hard to make your friendship reflect the love of God and the life of the church. This takes courage and help from all parties involved.
We must pattern our friendships after the most beautiful friendship we know – between God and His church. Ways in which we can do this are to pray for our friends. Seek God’s guidance in our friendships. Discuss God and His church with your friends. This will also benefit your spiritual life. Help each other; don’t try to make each other fall. Stick up for your friends in persecutions and troubles. John 15:13 reads, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” We must show this love to our friends and we will see the greatest of results. Christ loved us so much that He died for us. This is a prime example of love in friendship. Even through our sin He loved us and made us His friends. He tells us in John 15:15 “Henceforth I call you not servants…but I have called you friends.” Let us strive with all our hearts to show this love to our friends at all times.