9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
12And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Proverbs 18:24 (NRSV)
24Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one's nearest kin.
In today’s society, we use the term “friend” rather loosely. Often we say "friend" when we really should use the term, "acquaintance." The term “friend” connotes something much deeper than a casual relationship. To be a friend means some very important and specific things…
The Biblical concept of friendship is lifted up through out the scriptures. God called Abraham his friend. Saul’s son, Jonathan and David were the best of friends. The Bible even gives a negative example of friendship when it speaks of how Herod and Pilate became friends when they joined together in a decision to try, abuse and eventually crucify Jesus. (Luke 23:11-12 states: And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends, together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.)
The scriptures are filled with examples of real friendship. Consider the following verses:
Proverbs 18:24 (KJV)
24 A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
The New Revised Standard Version declares:
Proverbs 18:24 (NRSV)
25 Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one's nearest kin.
Sometimes God places people in our lives that can relate to us, support us, love us, encourage us, and through their prayers, faith and witness, empower us even more than our own flesh and blood relatives. For many, the Church… the people of God are those which stick closer than flesh and blood.
Some people have never had a true friend. They are hungry for real friends.
There are many people who are “play friends…” those who want to stand with you in the good times, but not the bad…those who want to hang around you as long as it is advantageous for them. There are those who are interested in what you can do for them and not necessarily what you all can share together – you’ve seen them, “play friends.”
Proverbs 17:17 from the NRSV states
17 A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.
God’s Word states that “a friend loves at all times,” which means that godly friendship endures and the love is unconditional. None of this, “I’ll be your friend if…” There may be times when we must love someone from a distance. Times change and people change, but love remains.
In true friendship, time, space and distance don’t change the love shared. Situations, circumstances and difficulties in real friendship don’t change the love shared. A friend loves at ALL TIMES.
The following verses further describe friendship:
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12
9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.True friends hold one another up. Human beings were made to be in fellowship with one another. God’s words concerning Adam, that it’s not good for him to be alone, extend beyond the husband and wife relationship. Human beings are meant for fellowship. We are like burning coals. As long as the coals stay together, they remain hot, they glow and produce heat. But if you take one coal away from the bunch and set it off to itself, the coal will soon go out.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
13 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
God new that if we did not have fellowship our coals would go out. There is something sweet about the sincere fellowship of God’s people. We lift one another up. We encourage and inspire one another. We give one another hope. We strengthen one another’s faith. God uses the testimonies of the saints to build up the body of Christ.
"Two are better than one. Woe unto him that is alone when he falleth for he hath not another to help him up again." We all trip now and then. But if we are standing close enough, we can catch one another before we hit the ground! And that’s what so special about the next verse:
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Real Friends will tell you the truth in love. It’s important to have friends that will tell you the truth. So many of us walk around like the king in the “Emperors New Clothes…” with no one to tell us that we are not fully clothed, but in fact naked! Real friends will tell each other when they are “naked,” even if the world is declaring that their “new suit” looks fabulous. Sometimes when we share the truth with our friends, they will be hurt or might even become angry, but in the long run, those “faithful wounds” will heal and the individual will be made whole.
Allowing a friend to go in the wrong direction while we remain silent is tantamount to knowing a person has a time bomb in his or her house and not warning them to get out! Real friends will take the risk of being misunderstood, and share, in love that which may hurt for the moment, but bring healing ultimately.
Finally, consider what Jesus said about friendship:
John 15:13 (NRSV)
13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.
True friendship is sacrificial. True friendship is willing to put self aside for the benefit of another. True friendship is willing to acquiesce or in other words, step back and allow your friend to be blessed. True friendship is willing to be the wind beneath another’s wings. True friendship rejoices with the one rejoicing and weeps with the one weeping. So often people can “weep” with you, but they struggle to “rejoice” with you! True friends strive to do both.
Jesus exemplified true friendship when he sacrificed his life for you and I. Jesus desires that we love each other as He loves as and also as we love ourselves.
Biblical friendship may be summarized as follows:
True friends love at all timesAre you a true friend?
True friends hold one another up
True friends tell the truth in love
True friendship is sacrificial in nature
Post a comment or send me an email at Shepastor1@hotmail.com
Until Next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,