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The model of true friendship

By Joseph Perry

1 Samuel 17; 18:3

Do you have a good friend?

How much does that friend mean to you?

A man laid in a hospital bed, looking at me straight in my eyes and said, “Perry, we are friends for life. Don’t ever forget that.” What he said touched me to the core of my heart. I found out that the Lord will place friends in your life to help you in different stages of your life.

Friendship is so important, because it has the ability to impact the life of each person forever. In order to be a friend, one must show themselves friendly. It’s a mutual relationship between a person or people, a bond unbreakable.

Sometimes we don’t realize how much a friend really means. Some people say they don’t need a friend. They say, “I can make it all by myself.” Sometimes people close themselves up, because they have been hurt, and can’t trust any longer. Too often many of us have allowed our friendship to extend only to a certain point. We draw an imaginary line in our minds and in our hearts, never allowing anyone to cross over. Friends should be able to be trustworthy, open, caring and sharing at any point and any place in life. We all need a friend. Friendship is so important. Friendship shares and loves, even cries together. We should ask the Lord to give us at least one good friend, especially in these critical times we live in.

The story of David and Jonathan was so unique and heartfelt. They were men who were close. They became close after David was placed in the palace by Jonathan’s father, King Saul. Sometimes the Lord will put us in places, and get us around people to bless us for a lifetime. They were unselfish in their sharing, and they both modeled true friendship.

There are a few observations on modeling friendship. I believe friends should be able to work through problems. Regardless of what has happened on either side, good friends will not allow issues to break up their friendship. Sometimes it takes moments of space to adjust thoughts and oftentimes healing, but true bonds will help mend together. Look at Jonathan and David. Saul can’t stand David; he’s jealous over David; but Jonathan doesn’t allow that to get in their way.

Don’t ever get jealous over your friends accomplishments, always support them. There is also a willingness to protect each other. Modeling friendship means we look out for each other. Friends are honest with each other. Friends show up, they don’t hide. Jonathan protected David, and David looked out for Jonathan by not hurting his father and eventually looking out for his brother. Friendship connects farther than one will ever know in the lives of people.

Lastly, when modeling friendship, you should never put each other down. Find ways of lifting each other up, not just in their presence, but even when they’re not around you. Jesus modeled true friendship when He went to the cross. He did it for you and I, as He calls us His friends. He calls us friends even when we fail to hold up our end of the friendship at times.

A beautiful, heartfelt hymn that has touched so many lives goes, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our griefs for Him to bear, and what a privilege it is to carry, everything to God in prayer.”

Whatever Is on your mind, you can take it to Him. The Lord is a friend indeed. He stands closer than a brother, one who we can lean and depend on. Today, and going forward in life, select, then model true friendship to people who will receive you, and you will find that you’ll never go without. Lord, help us to be a better friend, especially in times like these.

The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Perry is pastor of St. Mark AME Zion Church. Contact him at josephp134@gmail.com.