By Pr Ay Nee Ng
In New York, we faced a faceless society, and we become one of the masses. The question for us today is: Do we know who are our true friends? Are they the whisperers, who, though they mean good, can cause harm and division? Are they the simple, the critiques, or the just helpful, honest people in our lives? The real test comes when we are in trouble, penniless, or just in need.
A bunch of fifth-graders stuck up for their fellow school-mate battling learning disability and gave him a dose of much-needed support and real friendship.
James Willmert battles learning disability, is adopted, and lost his second father to a tragic accident. Once, a bunch of fellow fifth-graders saw James getting bullied in the school playground by his classmates. Jack Pemble, Jake Burgess, Gus Gartzke, Tyler Jones and Landon Kopischke teamed up, protected James, and gave him the gift of something that was completely missing from his life, a real friendship.
When James became a regular part of their fun get-together sessions, they came to know that he too shared their love for sports. They even chipped in some money to buy him Playstation 3.
This act of true friendship and kindness garnered media attention, and James, in appreciation of his beautiful friends, was quoted as saying, “All these guys are the best friends anybody could ask for.”
Do we know true friendship as how the Bible says? Let’s find out.
“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov. 27:5-6).
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Prov. 27:17).
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov. 17:17).
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals’” (1 Cor. 15:33).
Andy Rooney, a man who had the gift of saying so much with so few words has passed away but he used to be on CBS’s 60 Minutes TV show. These are a few things he shared of what he learned.
Love, it shows
Being kind is more important than being right.
He can always pray for someone when he doesn’t have the strength to help him/her in any other way.
No matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
Sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
Under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
When you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
Love, not time, heals all wounds.
Opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.
When you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
One should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.
Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.
Who are our true friends? Are they the ones that are around us when we are rich and able to splurge on them? Or are they there to comfort or lend a hand and help us, and not desert us, when we have nothing?
What is a Friend?
A person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.
synonyms: companion, bosom friend, best friend, close friend, intimate, confidante, familiar, soul mate, alter ego, second self, shadow, playmate, playfellow, classmate, schoolmate, workmate, ally, comrade, associate
What is True and Real Friendship?
We have a true friend in Jesus Christ. He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deut. 31:6).
1. The Lord Jesus Christ tells us what He thinks. He lays down His life for us and calls us friends.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:13-15).
I don’t know about you, but it sure is difficult to lay down our life for someone we know, yet alone for someone we don’t know. We may lay down our lives for our love ones but there is a question mark for someone we don’t know, a total stranger.
But here we have a perfect example: Jesus. He is the pure example of a true friend, for He laid down His life for His “friends”. We are no longer strangers to Him, but what is so amazing is that anyone may become His friend just by trusting in Him as his or her own personal Saviour, being born again, and receiving new life in Him.
Just imagine: He laid down His life for humanity from all races, tongues, and tribes. Even before we knew Him, He paved the way for us to have a better life—always thinking for someone else.
2. Friendship is about thinking of others above yourself and standing by each other.
Another example of true friendship is that of David and Jonathan, King Saul’s son. In spite of his father’s pursuit of David and attempts to kill him, Jonathan stood by his friend. This story is found in 1 Samuel chapters 18 to 20. Key passages are 1 Samuel 18:1-4; 19: 4-7; 20:11-17, 41-42.
3. A friend loves at all times. Proverbs is another good source of wisdom regarding friends. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov. 17:17). “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24).
4. In order to have a friend, one must be a friend. “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” (Prov. 27:5-6). “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Prov. 27:17).
5. Friends are of like-minded and have a relationship of trust. The principle of friendship is also found in Amos. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3; KJV).
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Eccl. 4:9-12).
Friendship is a relationship that is entered into by individuals, and it is only as good or as close as those individuals choose to make it. Someone said that if you can count your true friends on the fingers of one hand, you are blessed.
- A friend is one whom you can be yourself with and never fear that he or she will judge you.
- A friend is someone that you can confide in with complete trust.
- A friend is someone you respect and that respects you, not based upon worthiness, but based upon a likeness of mind. But remember: you do not have the same mind. We are very much an individual, but as individuals, we share the same understanding, enjoy each other’s company, and have the same heartbeat. We Christians are to be like this!
Warnings on Friendships
1. Watch out; bad company corrupts. “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals’” (1 Cor. 15:33).
2. Make no alliance with angry people. “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you?” (Prov. 22:24-27).
3. Do not enter into partnership with unbelievers. “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14).
We reflect who we are in our conversation, our behavior, and our attitude to life. We can’t hide from God, so there is a call to be genuine to each other. “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man” (Prov. 27:19). Finally, the real definition of a real and true friend comes from the following verses:
“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:7-8).
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).
This is real and true friendship at its best!