“A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.” –Proverbs 17:17
“A true friend”- do you ever feel like that is a foreign term? Our family has recently been discussing the topic of friendship, and I have been asking myself this question: ‘What is a true friend?’
Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” A true friend is one that you will find on your journey along the narrow path. They will encourage you in your walk with Christ and challenge you to live more like Him. They are honest with you and don’t have ‘two faces.’ They recognize evil and are willing to help you avoid it. A true friend will speak the truth in love and will try to understand your views even when their views are different from yours. They are also willing to pray with and for you. Mama has told my sister and I that “there are two different kinds of friends-the friends that will build you up in your walk with Christ, and those who will get you nowhere in your walk and tear you down.”
David and Jonathan are a great example of true friends. When Jonathan’s father, King Saul, tried to kill David unjustly, Jonathan warned David and protected him (1 Samuel 19:1-3). A friend may see the danger you are in, but a true friend will lovingly warn you about it.
I was talking with one of my good friends and she said something that is so very true: “It’s better to have one or two friends that will encourage you in your walk with Christ than a group of friends that won’t.”
All of this led me to ask myself another question: ‘What kind of friend am I?’ Am I a friend that will encourage others even if I don’t receive encouragement back? Am I a friend that isn’t judgmental of other’s views when they are different than my own? Do I speak the truth in love?
Jesus is the perfect example of a friend- not a peer, but One who is much wiser than all of us put together. He will listen and show us which way to go. He will hold out His hand to help us back up when things are rough. He loves us no matter what. In John 15, Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Jesus did that for us…He has shown us the greatest love!
I will close with a verse from one of my favorite hymns, ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’:
“Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge,
Take it to the Lord in prayer:
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.”