“Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?” Proverbs 20:6
Loyal friends are true treasures. David and Jonathan shared a deep friendship. These two had a lot in common. They were young, successful warriors with enormous potential and even bigger faith in God. Both had a claim to the throne of Israel, Jonathan by birth and David by God’s anointing through Samuel.
These two could have easily been enemies as they both had a right to the throne. And somehow they valued their friendship more than any position of authority. Each set aside rights and privileges for the sake of friendship. Jonathan even made a pact with David by giving him his robe and sword, both symbols of royalty and authority that were rightfully his (1 Samuel 18). This is a model of loyal friendship for us to emulate today.
Jonathan is the picture of a true friend — loyal and selfless, surrendering rights for the sake of friendship. S.E. Hinton said, “If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky.” Similarly, Henry Adams said, “One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible.” A friend like Jonathan is a true treasure. Who is your Jonathan?
While these types of friends might be challenging to find, it is certainly worth the search. At the very least, we can do our part to be a good friend to another. Proverbs has much to say about friendship. Here are a few key points:
• Friends build each other up. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17)
• Friends are genuine. “There are ‘friends’ that destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)
• Friends do NOT gossip. “A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.” (Proverbs 16:28)
• Friends forgive and friends don’t let conflicts go unresolved. “An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.” (Proverbs 18:19)
As we look for good friends and as we exemplify good friendship, let’s remember the words of Christ in John 15:13-17.
“There is no greater love than 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 slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.”
I’ve always been surprised by the word choice here. “You are my friends if you do what I command.” What kind of friend talks that way to another friend? But then I realize the context of the statement. A friend is loyal even to death. A friend builds up another.
A friend knows your past and loves you anyway. A friend knows your potential and helps you get there. A friend wants what is best for you. And all this is exactly what Christ did and continues to do for us.
Let’s take what Christ did for us and show that to others. There is no better friend than Christ. Let’s show the world what Christ has done for us by doing that same thing for others. Let’s leave an impression that our friends will not be able to shake.
Cody Haar is an associate pastor at Cornerstone Church in Sheridan. This column is based from a message he gave at Cornerstone Church July 28, which can be viewed at https://youtu.be/A6bn-SlemWg.