My best friend in college was a guy named Mark. He was the best man in my wedding. We used to do this thing where one of us would say, “The world tears us down…” and the other one of us would say “but we build each other up.”
It was a paraphrase of something the Apostle Paul had written in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
The Bible talks about the value of friends like Mark and friendship in general. In John 15:13 Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
The Book of Ecclesiastes tells us in chapter 4:9-10 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if one falls, the other will lift him up. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has no one to lift him up!”
If you have a friend or friends in your life that carry these biblical ideals you understand the blessing that true friendship is. These types of relationships aren’t just for friends. Family members can choose to lift us up. They can choose to help us even if it means laying down their own life for us.
Those types are the most valuable relationships we will have on this earth. We can never accomplish more on our own than we can with the help and support of a true friend.
Sometimes we need a friend to tell us a hard truth. We need their eyes and their loving message of rebuke when we lose our way. I recently came across a quote. It has been attributed to C.S. Lewis as well as to Shania Twain. So I don’t know who said it, but I find it to be true. “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”
Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”
That means that we should listen and consider the difficult words of someone we trust. We should also pretty well disregard the flattering words of someone we don’t trust.
Proverbs also says in 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
That idea of being born for adversity resonates with how some friendships seem to be going in this season.
We are living in a split nation when it comes to many ideas and beliefs. These splits are brought to the forefront in election season. I am afraid that many people are letting the disagreements sever friendships and relationships that we need to live our best lives. I am certain that time will leave many people regretting some of the things they’ve said and the choices they’ve made in this season. Their greatest regret will likely be allowing relationships to be torn beyond repair.
I want these words from the Apostle Paul to be an encouragement to you to make the hard choices to support and help your friends despite what disagreements may have popped up this season.
Ephesians 4:1-3 I (Paul) therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Jeremy Alger is the pastor of the New Cumberland Church of the Nazarene. For more information please visit www.newcumberlandnazarene.com