“A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.”
- Proverbs 17:17
The word “friend” is used to loosely.
In some ways it has reached the same vanilla coverage that “love” has in that it’s used so freely in describe anyone that you come in contact.
I even know some people that will say they have 10-12 best friends.
I’m confused. Isn’t a best friend 1 person?
The fear I have with this blanket use of friend and even best friend is that we may have no idea what a true friend looks like and what a true friend is supposed to do.
Solomon gives us a simple job description for what we should look for in a friend in Proverbs 17:17.
As your friend I promise to:
- Love you unconditionally
- Stand by you during anything.
Do this for me. Think of your top 5 friends and put them through the filter of just these two questions. Would they pass the test? Will they love you ALL the time? Will they walk through ANY rough patch?
We certainly need people that we hang out with, who we go to baseball games with, who we carpool with, but I don’t think that is the extent to which God wants us to live. He wants us to live with deep relationships.
He wants us to have people we can get past our safe “I’m fine, how are you?” responses and into real conversations that involve tears, questions, and challenges to each other.
When we dare to enter into those types of relationships I believe we have realized true friendship.
Even Jesus had varying degrees of relationships with the people he interacted with.
- His Group – 12 Disciples
- His Friends – Peter, James, John
- His Best Friend – John
I don’t mean to pull the Jesus-card, but if Jesus thought it important to have a friend that considered closer than any of the others, don’t you think we do too?
I want to encourage you and I to pursue authentic and deep relationships with people. Find someone you can trust, value, and relate to, but then be willing to extend yourself past the pleasantries and into vulnerability. It will take time and you can’t just ask anyone to do this, but I believe the long-term effects are worth the wait and effort.