The Bible gives us many insights into the gift of friendship.
The Book of Proverbs says, “Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin.” (Prov 18:24)
The Book of Sirach has a lot of good advice on being a friend. “When you gain friends, gain them through testing, and do not trust them hastily. For friends are such when it suits them, but they will not stand by you in time of trouble. There are friends who sit at your table, but they will not stand by you in time of trouble.” (Sira. 6:8-10)
Sirach also talks about the blessings of true friends. “Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter. Whoever finds one has found a treasure. Faithful friends are beyond price; no amount can balance their worth. Faithful friends are lifesaving medicine, and those who fear the Lord will find them. (Sira. 6:14-16)
The book also speaks about the value of a friend. “Wine and music gladden the heart, but the love of friends is better than either.” (Sira. 40:20)
A Czech Proverb says, “Do not protect yourself by a fence, but rather by your friends.”
Charles Allen reveals how to get friends, “You can make more friends in a month by being interested in them than in 10 years by trying to get them interested in you.”
Friendship is part of Jesus’ commandment, “to love one another as I have loved you.” If we love another person unconditionally, we will want what is best for that person. Zig Ziglar wrote about being a friend in the following story.
“Mike Corbett along with his friend Mark Wellman started the assault on El Capitan on July 19, 1989.
El Capitan is a sheer rock wall 3,569 feet above the floor of Yosemite Valley in northern California. It is one of the most difficult mountains for rock climbers to scale. The combination of difficulty and danger is sufficient to test the strength and courage of even the world’s most elite climbers.
“It took Wellman and Corbett seven days to make the climb. They encountered temperatures of up to 105 degrees and wind gusts that made the ascent even more difficult. When they reached the summit, Corbett stood in triumph, but Wellman just kept his seat. Wellman is the first person to scale El Capitan without the use of his legs.
“Wellman had given up climbing in 1982 after he was paralyzed as the result of a fall. From that point on the only rock climbing he did was in his dreams. Then Corbett convinced him they could climb the mountain together. Wellman certainly couldn’t have done it without Corbett, who led the way and helped Wellman move through each stage, higher and higher.
“On the seventh day, Corbett was unable to secure the pitons in the loose rock skirting the summit. Knowing that a misstep would send them both plunging to their deaths, Corbett hoisted Wellman onto his back and clambered the remaining distance to the top.
“An old but very true statement holds that if you would have a friend, be a friend. I encourage you to be a friend as Mike Corbett was to Mark Wellman.”
Jesus told us that we are His friends. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. (John 15:13-15)
The Cursillo Movement says, “Make a friend, be a friend, and help bring that friend to Christ.” Try it!