June 4, 2009
That's What Friends are For
by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Entertainment Editor
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 17:17, NIV
Remember the '80s ballad, "That's What Friends Are For"? Its chorus wasn't really profound, but more of a feel-good reminder about friendship:
Keep smilin', keep shinin'
Knowin' you can always count on me, for sure
That's what friends are for
For good times and bad times
I'll be on your side forever more
That's what friends are for
It would be nice if all friendships could be as "smilin'" and "shinin'" as the one described in this song. But that's not always the case, such as earlier this spring when one of my friends said to me, "You stink as a friend."
Nice. Well, in hindsight I believe that the Lord was showing me that I truly was not being a good friend at all. And it took the ending of this friendship to show me where I was lacking in all of my friendships across the board.
In this particular case, I apologized and tried to reconcile, but the friend wanted nothing more to do with me. So after crying and wiping away my tears, I decided that I would learn from this situation.
My quest took me to the book of Proverbs: a source of wonderful life lessons that are as simple to understand as they are deep in their layers of meaning. Let's take a look and see what it says that true friends are for. ...
Proverbs 16:28 ... "A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends." When friends share their most private thoughts with us, we should file them away for safekeeping. Don't be a source of drama. Instead, protect your friends' personal business and be the tie that binds and builds trust.
Proverbs 17:9 ... "He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends." Have you ever "covered" for a friend before? This is one of those acts that really forces us to mature and put on some big boy (or girl) pants in a hurry. Even when you've been hurt, love doesn't broadcast. It forgives and gets over the wrong.
Proverbs 17:17 ... "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Whether the sun shines or the skies burst forth in torrential downpours, true friends and relatives stick with you through thick and thin and are not of the fair-weather variety. Are you a faithful friend who purposes to remain?
Proverbs 18:24 ..."A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." True, you have to be a friend to make friends. But are you supposed to be bosom buddies with everyone? You can be friendly to all, but it is better to be selective when determining your closest, most dependable inner circle of friends.
Proverbs 27:6 ... "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." The bottom line is this: a real friend will tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear. Sure, it hurts to hear the truth (even in love!). But afterward, you'll see how much better you feel and realize how much your friend truly cares about you.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Based on the above verses, how are your friendship skills measuring up? Is it time to do a little fine-tuning? Are there some friendships that should be added or subtracted from your life? Take time to assess and thank God for the friends he has placed in your life.