Friendship is a thing to be treasured, especially when it is a true friendship. True friends love you enough to overlook the small flaws in your life and enough to try to help you struggle with the big ones. Proverbs 17:17 tells us, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
My best friend of about 30 years, George, down in the heart of Texas sent me the following words after I sent him prepublication copy of an article I was working on, asking for his suggestions. I send it along with a note that it was "unproofed" and it still had lots of "Typo's". He replied: "A friend is one who reads your emails and does not count your typos." That may seem like a small thing, but at the old saying goes, "It's the little things that make a difference."
How does that concept translate practically into our modern way of thinking? Just what does that mean for us today? Does it have to be about big sacrifices or of unquestioning support for us all of the times when we mess up in life, or even when we make the wrong choices? I believe it does. You see when Proverbs talks about the love of a friend, it says "a friend loves (cares deeply) at all times". Dr. Laurence Peter said it this way, "You can always tell real friend: When you make a fool of yourself, they don't feel you've done a permanent job."
Friendship is very much about consistency, loyalty and mutual support. Friendship is not something you have only when it is convenient or cost you no personal investment of time and energy. Friendship is not seen in those who desert you when things get tough or messy in your life, that's a cheap imitation of friendship. Friendship is what causes you to believe in and support someone else even when it's not the cool or in your best interests to do so. Do you remember of what they accused Jesus in Luke 7:34? They said, "He is a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!"
Friendship does not mean that you have to condone the actions of your friend when they do wrong or intend to do wrong. Friendship is what causes you to try to help them see what the right choices in life are; after all, making "right choices" is what life is all about. Do you remember what Jesus said in John 15:14? Notice his words: "You are my friends if you do what I tell you to do (obey my commandments)."
There is a hymn we sometimes sing, titled "I'll be a friend to Jesus." In the third verse we often sing the words, but too often don't think about what we are promising to God. Notice the words: "I'll do what He may bid me; I'll go where He may send. I'll try each flying minute to prove that I'm His friend."
A true friend is not just one that occasionally sends prayer heavenward. A true friend of Jesus is someone who demonstrates through their actions (doing what he tells us to do) that we are his friend. The chorus of this song emphasizes the importance of being a friend of Jesus. When we sing: "I'll be a friend to Jesus; My life for Him I'll spend. I'll be a friend to Jesus, Until my years shall end." Can we do any less for our friends here on earth?