Friendship, what is it?
The older I get, the more important friendships are to me. The older I get, the more I realize that very few people have time for friendships. It’s just not a priority to them. Especially those who are involved in Christian ministry.
Friendships were pretty important to Jesus (John 15:15; 11:11).
I’ve always liked Aristotle’s analysis of the three kinds of friendships.
Usefulness: These are friends only when they need something. Like a book endorsement.
Mutual Interest: These are friendships based on a common interest like golfing, playing cards, underwater basket weaving, etc.
Virtue: These are friends who value one another just because of who they are. They simply enjoy spending time with each other and supporting one another.
I think one of the best definitions of a friend comes from George Elliot:
“Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words.”
Here’s my definition of a true friend:
A true friend hurts when you hurt and joys when you rejoice.
A true friend loves you even when you have a disagreement.
A true friend will level with you even if it may sting.
A true friend is someone you can talk to anytime.
A true friend trusts you.
A true friend is genuinely interested in your life.
A true friend will stand with you in the day of trial and attack.
Someone once said that the prescription for having the kind of friend you’ve always wanted is to B1.
While this makes a great tweet, being the kind of friend you yourself would like isn’t the antidote to developing true friendships. The reason is because a friendship requires two parties who are willing to take the time to get to know one another.
Finding a true friend, therefore, is like finding a precious gem. Because few people make the required time.
Take a moment to answer these questions:
Knowing that a friendship takes two willing parties, is it possible to be good friends with someone who doesn’t agree with you politically, spiritually, or theologically?
In other words, can Rush Limbaugh be good friends with Bill Maher? Can John Piper be good friends with Joel Osteen? Can Richard Dawkins be good friends with Al Mohler? Can Frank Viola be good friends with Rob Bell on the one hand and Mark Driscoll on the other?
Hmmm . . .
I’m willing . . .