“She and her dear girlfriends went among the hills.”
“When Everybody Else Walks Out On You”
“It is best to have one true friend than all the acquaintances in the world.”
What does it mean to me to be a “true” friend?
“As gold is tried in the furnace, so friends are tried in adversity.”
“A true friend is one who knows all about you and likes you anyway’”
When I was in fifth grade, I met Mary. She became my best friend and we are still friends today – many, many years later. Although we live miles apart, I remember our time together with great fondness.
One day, a couple of guys in our class decided to pick on me because I was a very skinny girl. (I wish I could say that now!) Anyway, the heckling brought me to tears and Mary was furious at the two boys who were teasing me. Mary was built differently than I was. While I had skinny legs and arms, Mary was a very muscular girl and a great athlete. So, she grabbed one of the baseball bats lying on the playground and took after these guys as if she were going to beat them up for hurting her friend. Well, she didn’t hit anyone, and later the boys came back and apologized, but here’s the thing. After Mary chased off my tormentors, she informed me, “Dorothy, kids are going to find out we are “true friends” and when they go after one of us, they go after both of us.” Don’t you just love it! A fifth grader who understood what it means to be a “true” friend.
In the Bible, I looked up all the references that used the word “true,” as it relates to the relationships between people. What I found is that the Hebrew translation for the word “true,” means: “certainty, assurance, faithful” and last but not least, “established.” How appropriate that when you have someone in your life who is faithful, you can rest in the assurance and certainty that the relationship between the two of you is established. It has a firm foundation.
These were the qualities that the friends of Jephthah’s daughter showed. As we have seen, the lack of a healthy relationship between father and daughter left Jephthah’s girl with the knowledge she couldn’t count on her daddy. Sadly, like a lot of women in this world, her father thought of himself and his needs and insecurities before he thought of his daughter.
Thankfully, in the moment of her greatest need, Jephthah’s daughter didn’t have to look far to find the support she longed for – her girlfriends stepped up and said, “We’re here for you. You can count on us.” The certainty, assurance and firm foundation of female friendship was a rock under Jephthah’s daughter’s feet.
As I reflect on what it has meant to me, throughout my life, to have several “true friends,” I’d like to share the qualities I’ve identified in those female friends who have given me the cherished gift of their overflowing hearts.
Here are a few of the precious traits which are present in “true” friends:
1.) “True” friends always believe the best about you even when they hear the worst. Back-biting and gossip don’t faze a “true” friend for a real friend will come to you to see what’s really going on. They won’t believe idle chatter that demeans the person they care about.
2.) “True” friends can disagree with you, without becoming disagreeable. I know of long-standing friendships that have weathered storm after storm only to be destroyed by some fight over religion or politics. “Why?” I ask. “Can’t we listen to another person’s point of view with kindness rather than trying with all our might to change them to see things the way we do?” Who knows, maybe I don’t have everything figured out perfectly so who am I to criticize another in a harsh manner. “True” friends listen and love. They don’t try to destroy another person just because they don’t agree with them.
3.) “True” friends develop “rust-proof” relationships. People who are “true” to you don’t let little irritations become sources of corrosion between the two of you. When I think of rusted cars, especially in areas where roads used to be salted during times of winter snow and ice, I’m reminded that just one little grain of salt can become the point where damage begins to take place. “True” friends never let anything, no matter how small; destroy the friendship that flows between two hearts.
4.) “True” friends are never too busy to give you a moment of encouragement and love. Their time is your time. And with the time they share with you, they work to fill you with inspiration and elevation. Yes, they lift you to a height you’d never attain without them.
5.) “True” friends develop a bond that lasts a lifetime. No amount of time or distance ever separates “true” friends.
King Solomon, who is regarded as one of the wisest men who ever lived, wrote a great deal in the book of Proverbs about friendship. He observed in Proverbs 14:20 that “the rich hath many friends.” They may not be “true” friends, but they call themselves friends. He also correctly wrote that, “a whisperer separateth friends (Proverbs 16:28).” How true!
But of all the words of wisdom Solomon penned, none ring so “true” as these: “A friend loveth at all times” (Proverbs 17:17).
Solomon understood that “true” friends are those who not only walk into our lives when everybody else walks out, but “true” friends are also those who stay behind when everyone else leaves.
“True” friends are the girls who climb up the mountains of your troubles with you, unafraid to scale the cliffs of pain and yet, they are also those who will go down into the depths with you, no matter how deeply you fall.
We are blessed, here in the garden, to have many daughters of God join us each day from the country of Nigeria. And as I was studying about “true” friends, I found this beautiful Nigerian Proverb which says: “Hold a true friend with both your hands.” What a tender way to describe the way we should treat those who give us the blessing of their friendship. How fortunate you and I are when we have “true” friends, who walk this earthly journey with us as we travel to our heavenly home.
“True friends don’t spend time gazing into each other’s eyes. They may also show great tenderness towards each other, but they face in the same direction – toward common projects, goals – above all, towards a common Lord.” - C.S. Lewis
“A true friend embosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably.” - Author Unknown
“What Is A Friend?”
“Years ago an English publication offered a prize for the best definition of a friend, and among the thousands of answers received were the following:
1.) ‘One, who multiplies joys, divides grief, and whose honesty is inviolable.’
2.) ‘One who understands our silence.’
3.) ‘A volume of sympathy bound in cloth.’
4.) ‘A watch which beats true for all time and never runs down.’
Here is the definition of a “true” friend that won the prize:
‘A true friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.’” - Author Unknown
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