"Friendship's a noble name, ‘tis love refined."
The Stolen Heiress (1703)
"Perfect" - Without defect or omission. Sound. Accurate. Absolute. To bring to completion. To finish.
What are the qualities of a "perfect" friend?
"My friends are my estate."
Emily Dickinson (1858)
Other than my wonderful family, the greatest gift I have been given in my life is the gift of good friends. I have been blessed to be surrounded, through the years, by confidants who were loyal and trustworthy. What a gift it has been for me to know that I have friends who will listen without blabbing. Will advise without ordering. And will love me unconditionally even when I don't deserve it.
There's a lot for all for us to learn about being a "perfect" friend. But one of the best teachers on this subject happens to be someone I believe found it difficult to have friends. His name - King Solomon.
In the first book of Kings we find this wise man, who had amassed great wealth, was held in awe by the people of his kingdom. So much so, they deferred to him in many ways until he really couldn't count on the people around him to tell him what he needed to know.
Now add to this the fact that King Solomon decided to marry over 700 royal brides, plus he added to his household 300 concubines. These royal women had one goal: keep Solomon happy! With their many heathen gods, their hold on the truth wasn't worth anything!
What Solomon needed was a good friend. An honest friend. A trustworthy friend. Maybe it was his longing for a true friend that motivated him to write so much about friendship. In fact, the qualities he delineates are some of the most cherished attributes I find in my own friends.
Here are the qualities Solomon prized in a "perfect" friend:
Quality #1: A friend loves at all times. My friend Mary is this kind of friend. Good times - bad times, Mary is there. In fact, if I were sitting in the electric chair with the jailer ready to pull the switch, Mary would still believe I was innocent. She believes the best about me, because she inspires the best in me. As Solomon wrote in Proverbs 18: 24, The Message "Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family."
Quality #2: A friend sticks with you through all kinds of trouble. This describes my sister-in-law, Irma. It hasn't mattered what kind of trouble we have faced through the years. It has only served to draw our hearts closer together. "Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble," wrote Solomon in Proverbs 17: 17 The Message.
Quality #3: A friend gives wise counsel. Several years ago, a new neighbor moved in next door to me. Little did I know how rich my life would be with the addition of a "new" friend. Beverly and I aren't the same age, but we were born just one day apart. Even our mothers were born one day apart. I could list the similarities between the two of us but I don't have enough paper! What I love about Beverly is that I can always count on her wisdom. She is one of those rare individuals with superb judgment. She is wise, and unselfishly shares her wisdom. Solomon in Proverbs 27:9 (N.I.V.) describes a friend like Beverly in these beautiful words: "Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from (her) earnest counsel."
Quality #4: A friend is a delight to your heart. Over twenty-five years ago, I was hired to do marketing work for a company owned by one of the most extraordinary people I've ever met. It didn't take long before I realized a line had been crossed. Madonna was no longer just a client -- she was my friend. And what a friend. She has single-handedly brought more class and beauty into my life than anyone I know. She is fun to be around. Lights up a room when she walks in and makes you wish she'd stay all day when she visits. Solomon must have been thinking about someone just like Madonna when he wrote in Proverbs 22: 11, "She whose speech is gracious will have good-leaders delighting in (her) friendship."
A "perfect" friend: loves at all time; sticks with you through all kinds of trouble; gives wise counsel; and is a delight to your heart.
In one of Jesus' last meetings with His disciples on earth, He wanted to leave a special thought with these men who had been together through thick and thin. Jesus spoke these words: "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends…I have called you friends" (John 15: 12-15, K.J.V.).
How thankful you and I can be that Heaven has not only given us the blessing of earthly friends but a Heavenly friend - Jesus, as well.
"Oh the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thought nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away."
A Life For A Life
"True friends are those who really know you but love you anyway."
"You are my friends."
John 15: 15
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.