FRIENDS, WHO NEEDS THEM? Some people seem to have adopted the attitude that they really don’t need friends. Cutting and slashing their way through life they leave a trail of broken relationships and bad memories for those who have known them. Thinking life is all about them and using people to meet their own needs without concern for the trail of destruction they leave behind these people have few people in their lives who really mean anything to them. People who approach life in this manner are missing life’s greatest blessings and will often end up disillusioned and lonely souls.
The Bible says, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24 KJV) The NIV version states that thought a little differently as it says, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” The reality is, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17 NIV) Real friends will stick with you “through thick and thin;” joyous times and times of sadness and troubles. With true friends love is a mutual affection as the book of Ecclesiastics says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (4:9-10 NIV) As Christians we need to choose our “friends” carefully because our friends usually have a huge impact on our lives, “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” (Proverbs 12:26 NIV) In contrast a real friend will act as a tool in the hand of God, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 NIV) I am thankful for the many friends my wife and I have who over the years have shown mutual affection and godly sharpening of our lives. As we have traveled the road of life together our friends have enriched, challenged, and shared our lives in ways that we will never forget. Those without such friends are missing some of life’s greatest joys.
As much as earthly friends are great blessings “there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24 NIV) That friend is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (Gospel of John 15:12-15 NIV) Jesus laid down his life for us that we might have eternal life. He gave His life to give us life. He loves us and sticks with us in a much greater way than any earthly friend could. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5 NIV) That is true friendship. Friends, who needs them? As it turns out we all need friends. And the greatest friend anyone needs or could have is Jesus.