What is the value of Christian friends? Solomon writes emphatically from his perspective on friendship. “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:10). In Proverbs Solomon lists three strong characteristics of a good friend. He loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17); he is closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24); he never forsakes his friend (27:10). A friend carries the load when you are unable to take one step. C.H. Spurgeon advised that “friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life. Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial had they not found a friend."
Luke writes of a man who would have failed without his friends. Four men carrying a paralytic can’t get to Jesus through a mass of people so they climb to the roof by an outside stairway. After removing roof tiles and prying up the mud and wattle, they lower the paralytic’s pallet through the opening. Jesus looks up, and observes the pallet being lowered. What does he see? Love on the faces of the men looking through the roof? Yes! He sees their hungering need for their friend’s healing. He sees great faith revealed in their faces. Jesus looks at the suffering paralytic and announces, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” To show the Pharisees that He had the power to forgive sin, Jesus tells the man lying on the mat, “Your sins are forgiven. Rise up, and pick up your mat. Go home” (Luke 5:16-24)!
What does this example reveal? True friendship believes in the promise. It believes when another is unable to believe. It never forsakes. It perseveres against all odds. It carries what you are unable to carry. It hangs on for the miracle.
Have you had such a friend? Have you been such a friend? There is no greater love but that someone gives his life away for another.