You and Me Against the World

Having oft heard certain speaking with perceived erudition and thoughtful pauses that we are truly fortunate to find one or two real friends in life, I still think that’s being a little too hard on people.  It’s not that I don’t understand the idea, rather that some people set the bar for friendship too high.  Now, I realize friendships are of different levels, but I believe a person may be a true friend according to their degree, yet unwilling to co-sign for your house.  Of course, statements of this kind call into question the nature of friendship and illustrate the point that terms of endearment run both ways.

Each of us will have casual friends.  Such relationships will form within our neighborhoods, at churches and on our jobs.  We will know names and limited information regarding people we see often and treat in a collegial manner.  These may rightly be called friends but reliance between the parties is slight.  Though we not make many demands of them, such acquaintances are legitimately caring and can be quite valuable.  The Bible tells us that one who would gain friends will need to behave in a manner open to cordial bonds.  Since we get what we give, behaving nicely attracts others to us.

It is not possible to choose relatives.  We may find that cohorts of varying stripes are more reliable (even likeable) than ancestry.  Sadly, for some, family members are not solutions to their problems.  They are sources of their problems.  Jesus said that a person’s family members could actually be enemies.  Hopefully, this is not the general trend, but this sometimes fact could be part of the reason our Lord said we could not even place familial relations above Him in the hierarchy of loyalty.  Many have been surprised at the outcroppings of the nuclear unit.  Friendships must reach beyond its scope.

We know biblically and experientially that there are friendships more deep and abiding than pass and repass formalities and family bonds.  King David testified of such, and his son spoke of a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  In the same context, Solomon said a person with unreliable friends was soon brought to ruin.  In life, few things are more import than peers which either lift or debase us.  Those fortunate enough to be well-connected find wealth money cannot buy and are protected from many of the sorrows of life.  These friendships are spoken of in whispered terms.  They are precious because they are rare.

In life, it is common to be forsaken by so-called friends.  Perhaps, forsaken is too harsh a word.  Paul said friends left him for a variety of reasons, some less than honorable.  We should say that old acquaintances leave us behind as they move on to other things.  When they leave, we feel rebuked, shamed and wronged.  It is difficult to achieve stability when your supports fail, and it may be hard for the disenfranchised to maintain balance.  Today, a good number of people are in need of professional assistance precisely because the normal, needed and natural avenues of help have washed away with the sands of time. 

When most turn their backs and walk away, who can you count on to stay?  Sometimes, it will feel like you have little companionship against the trials of this world.  Even if you know that God is on your side, you will still cry alone or with some few who really care.  One day, all our friends may be truly gone from us, or we from them.  In that time, our memories will be all that is left.  They will have to do.  The only thing that can get us through is relying on the fact that such friendships actually did exist.  They happened once upon a time.  That, and the knowledge they may be renewed if we are in Christ.

Sterl.

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