One of my favorite verses of scripture is “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Prov. 17:17).I have been blessed with some real good and true friends through the years. Some of them have been seasonal and while we have a good relationship we are separated by time and distance. Some of my best of friends are with the Lord, now.
What grabs my attention about this verse is that a friend loves you all the time. A friend will know your faults, understand that you often stumble. They love you anyway. They love you unconditionally. They love you in the good times and the bad times. They know when to encourage you and when to rebuke you. But what they never do is not love you because they love all the time.
Perhaps nothing hurts more than the sense of loss when you discover someone that you thought was a friend demonstrates that they are not. King David experienced some of that and wrote about it in his Psalms. Some can’t love unconditionally because they are not living in the overflow of God’s unconditional love.
I can remember a speaker a number of years ago at a pastor’s conference making this statement. He was talking about so-called friends that had let him down. They say one thing, and do another. So he said, “I wish I was a country western singer, and then I would write a song entitle, That’s why ‘I love you brother’ is fightin’ words to me. I thank God for the good friends I have had, and I am praying that God help me be a better friend to others in my life.
As I ponder this, I am reminded that there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.(Prov. 18:24)When I consider that in light of Jesus’ words, John 15:13, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” In light of those two verses I believe there is no greater friend than Jesus. I praise God that Jesus is the friend of sinners, because I am one.
I just had this on my heart. I think it is true, in order to have friends, you have to be a friend. That is the only side of the equation I can do anything about. So today, I am going to work at being a better friend.