Years ago I read a book entitled, “A Friend is Someone Who Likes You.” Never mind the word love in the title of the book or in the mind of the author. The message the author wanted his readers to understand is that love is an obligation for Christians - but to like someone, well, that’s a choice.
The book makes it clear that we all do things that are difficult for others to accept - especially those who know us best. But to get above strange differences and ugly habits and accept others as they are - that is “true” friendship. And, when things go awry, it doesn’t matter. They are to be overlooked. A friend willingly overlooks the worst in a friend and is always ready to lend a hand, give a hug, or share words of encouragement.
Is that not the way we Christians are to treat each other? I recently heard someone say, “Well, I love them enough to get into heaven, but that does not mean I have to love them for the way they are and how they act.” Oh yes, it does.
There are different ways of understanding what Solomon meant when he wrote: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” In the Hebrew text “One who loves at all times” comes first and is then followed by “friend.” The idea that Solomon wants us to understand and accept is that friends, by choice, can do what is right and to be expected among and between friends, at all times. Or, “Only that one who loves at all times is a friend.”
When we enter into times of adversity, when one’s world is turned upside down and inside out, when life no longer makes sense, strong human relationships – true friendships - are critical. And, a true friend loves us through it all, no matter what.
Prayer: Father, help us to cultivate friends who will be with us “through it all” and like us as well as love us. Help us to be a friend to someone today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.