Our pastor spoke on this subject Sunday, and I thought it merited additional study. The KJV shows 96 verses with the words friend or friends. Jesus spoke to His disciples of friendship, too:
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 KJV)
Jesus laid down His life. Would seem from that that he did so for friends. Do you think of yourself as His friend? Jesus had more to say about the subject in the next verse:
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. (John 15:14 KJV)
Ooops, now He’s putting conditions on His friendship. What happened to that unconditional, everybody’s-welcome, there’s-no-set-belief stuff I keep hearing about? Here Jesus plainly states that we get to be His friend – if we do what He commanded. Remember what He commanded? It comes a bit later:
These things I command you, that ye love one another. (John 15:17 KJV)
Note, please “These”, indicating more than one thing is requested, yet the end of the verse sounds like one thing – loving one another. I think that means we love continually, not just saying it once and trusting that’s sufficient. It’s not. It is to continue:
A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17 KJV)
Some friends are not looking out for our best interest. Some will bring us adversity:
But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David's brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man. (2 Samuel 13:3 KJV)
Amnon wanted something wrong, followed Jonadab’s advice, and it ended up getting him killed.
We can always find someone who will agree to help us in what we want to do – whether it is good for us or not. We’ve all seen the results when celebrities surround themselves with people who support damaging lifestyles – even to doctors who over-prescribe for their patients.
Saying “No” to a friend’s error comes to mind because I tested a friendship toward the end of last week. I wrote about it in “Corrupt Communication.” A dear friend had used inappropriate language and I called it to her attention, as a sister in Christ, for we both have professed to be. She could have widened the rift, separating us further. I could have widened it, too, by cutting communication. I give thanks that a rift did not grow. Instead, our friendship reached across the breach and together we grow in our faith. That’s the type of friendship I believe Christ gave to us.