17 A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Friends don’t always agree. Friends don’t always do what the other wants. Friends are sometimes miles away – even across the oceans. However, the one constant is that a friend loves. This is not an emotion. We do not need to maintain a false emotional high. Of course, a friend will often feel wonderful and enraptured in the company of a friend, but in need not always be that way.
I sometimes find people who say that they have no friends. In fact I might say this is increasingly common. As we are encouraged to keep busy and perform tasks to satisfy our cravings for recognition, worth, and pleasure, we find it harder to maintain relationships. The best way to obtain meaningful friendships is to be a friend. It means that we approach people that God has laid on our heart and we reach out to them: We offer to do chores that they don’t have time for; We take interest in their interests; We share experiences; We take initiative in seeking the other out and listening.
A successful marriage is rooted in sound friendship. Lust and self-serving dating can skip the step of becoming friends. However, if a couple skillfully develop a friendship in courtship, their marriage will be all the stronger.
If we are ‘stuck’ with someone unlike us in a dorm situation, or in a church situation, we can be a friend to them and stop moaning about how unlike us they are. Friends love.
Siblings should be the closest of friends. Cain and Able let us know that sin is in the heart of the family. However, when things around the family go wrong often healthy families will form stronger bonds. It should be like this in friendship. If someone is struggling, we should take the initiative to reach out. When Kelli and I got back from China with our new daughter recently, our friends in our small group, Carrie and Jonna, offered to do something for us. We didn’t take them up on it, but the offer itself was profoundly uplifting. I hope that my wife and I can be the same for others. If you have our number and something is troubling you, give one of us a call. Send us an e-mail. We can be family to each other in times of adversity if we know that adversity is going on.
- What do friends do?
- How are friends like family?
- How do you think Jewish friendships in ancient times were both similar and different from our friendships?
- Who are your closest friends? How do you love each other?
- Who do you find it difficult to befriend but realise God might want you to love? How does knowing God make the difference?