I Was Just Thinking About – FRIENDSHIP.
What is a friend? What is a characteristic of friendship? The Dictionaries do little to clarify the meaning for us. The definition given is: “A friendly relation or intimacy; a friendly feeling or disposition.” The Synonyms are a bit more helpful: “harmony, accord, understanding, rapport.”
Mark Twain allowed: “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
In his treatise: Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life – Henri J.M. Nouwen wrote: “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
Helen Keller is reported to have said: “I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than being alone in the light.”
Proverbs 27:10 shares this counsel: “Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you—better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away.”
The words of Jesus in John 15:12-17 are very reassuring: “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will remain—so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. This is My command to you: Love one another.”
There is a considerable difference between one who is an acquaintance and one who is a genuine friend. If the basis of a personal friendship means one has to always agree with the other person or there will be no basis for friendship, that type of conditional relationship is invalid and worthless. And yet, it prevails and continues, even within the clergy. Why? Perhaps its due to insufficient humility or a failure to desire the presence of the mind of Christ in one’s life (Philippians 2:5-8).
The Biblical principle for friendship is stated in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” This is a useful purpose that will allow for mutual edification and growth in sanctification.
Prayerfully – consider these things with me.