As promised I’m gonna be post happy for the next several days as we launch our “friendship campaign” the war on loneliness, join the revolution!! #endloneliness
One issue that keeps many of us from pursuing and maintaining friendships is we may not see the value of these relationships. We may see friendship as good but not essential, I’m hoping we’ll soon change our minds on that. Scripture (mainly Proverbs) has much to say about the value and importance of friendship i.e.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 18v24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 27v5-6 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
Proverbs 27v9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.
For today we’ll start with value statement #1 for friendship… (credit to Timothy Keller for this)
Friendship is unique—There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Strong statement written at a time and in a culture that was very family oriented, much more than our current cultural climate… yet a friend can be better than a sibling— How? ch17v17 a friend loves at all times, but a sibling is for adversity.
Your siblings, your family are in your life due to biological connectedness “whether they like it or not”… they will be there for you in adversity because they care and there’s family loyalty, but ya’ll may not really like each other. They may not be the people you want to hang out with for dinner after work or over an extended weekend. Friendship is different we choose our friends and a “real friend” sticks closer than a brother.
Friendship brings something into your life that family can’t bring, that romance can’t bring, that neighbors can’t bring, that no other relationship can bring, yet the majority of modern society puts friendship way down the list of important relationships.
Our magazines, our music, our art reflects our cultures obsession with erotic, romantic love… its all over the front of magazines at the grocery store “who’s sleeping with who?” Not “whose best friends with who?” No one cares about that, we want to hear about the erotic, the romantic, those are the relationships people care about.
Timothy Keller put it this way…
In a liberal individualistic culture, romance is the most important relationship.
In a traditional conservative culture, family is the most important relationship, father, mother, brother, sister relationships.
In a socialistic communitarian culture, it’s the civic relationships, it’s your relationship with your neighbors but every culture will always put friendship in second, in the back seat.
Why? Because friendship is not a biological, or sociological necessity. It’s the only love that is absolutely deliberate, it will not push itself upon you. C.S. Lewis in his famous essay on friendship says, “friendship is the least instinctive and organic biological, the least necessary of all our loves. It has the least commerce with our physical system. There’s nothing throaty about it. Nothing that quickens the pulse or turns you red and pale.”
Therefore in a busy culture like ours, where we work long hours and are constantly on the go we have limited amounts of time and all the other relationships will push themselves on us. Family relationships, vocational networking and of course you want to have romance (which takes up all your free time at least at the beginning) and friendship, gets moved way down the list… yet the proverbs indicate you really won’t thrive in life without good friends, friendship brings something into your life that is unique.
The book of proverbs continually says, fools perish either for lack of friends, or for poorly chosen friends. We typically think, “I am who I choose to be”, you are not who you choose to be. In the early stages of your life you are what your family made you. And then the rest of your life, you are what your friends make you. It’s your community that forms you, it’s your community that shapes you. Proverbs says that you perish for a lack of, or wrong friends.
We all NEED friends! Can you name at least two people who are in your life right now that are “real friends”? How would you define friendship? What value do you see in having friends?
Give me some feedback, join the revolution #endloneliness