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Friday, May 26, 2023

True Friendship



“O my dear brother Jonathan, I’m crushed by your death. Your friendship was a miracle-wonder, love far exceeding anything I’ve known— or ever hope to know” (1 Samuel 1:26, MSG).



David and Jonathan were bound by the deepest friendship. On the report of Jonathan's death, David was crushed, but he said something in this verse that speaks of Jonathan's friendship being one that exceeded anything he had ever known. His friendship was a “miracle-wonder.”


C. H Spurgeon once stated, “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.”  


I have a quote a friend gave me several years ago. “A friend is someone,” it reads, “who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” 


Luke writes of a man who would have missed Jesus’ healing without the determination of his friends to literally carry him. Four men bring their paralytic friend to a house where Jesus is but can’t get through the mass of people. Determined, they climb to the roof of the house 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 sees the pallet being lowered. He sees the faces of four men filled with purpose. He sees their great faith. Jesus looks at the paralytic and declares, “Friend, your sins are forgiven. Rise up, and pick up your mat. Go home.” (Luke 5:16-24)


In Proverbs, Solomon lists three strong values found in 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 (Proverbs 27:10). 


The story of the paralytic in Luke brings the wisdom of Solomon to life. The paralytic received ongoing love from his friends. He was closer than a brother, and they did not forsake him. His friends believed in his healing and did what they could to help him. Maybe, the paralytic had given up all hope and had asked them to leave him alone. Perhaps, because he was unable to do anything for himself, he was relying upon his friends. 


Whatever the case what can we understand about friendship from this example of the four friends’ commitment? No matter what your friend’s belief or lack of belief, you believe in the very best for him. You encourage him with the Word. You believe in his miracle when despair has claimed his heart. You go the distance for him.


True friendship never acts upon human desire but only upon the desire of the Holy Spirit. It listens and follows His guidance. True friendship never sacrifices the heart of a friend. If a friend shares his heart, he has trusted you enough to make himself vulnerable to what you think of him. If your friend comes to you seeking advice, pray for God's wisdom and always extend the grace of honesty without judging him. Realize you don't have all the answers but carefully listen. When the Holy Spirit gives insight, offer His insight without placing compliance on your friend. Make it clear he is loved no matter what his choice. God gives us free will, and we should do the same. You can believe in a promise for your friend, but you can never demand or make him believe it. That is his decision. You can share what the Holy Spirit has shown you, but you can't coerce him to believe. That is not your place. Your place is to believe. Encourage, and pray for him. You accept him with all his hang-ups and struggles, just as Christ has accepted you with all of yours.


A David and Jonathan friendship knows the other friend's heart without asking. When your friend has lost all hope, you will know it. If the time comes when the Holy Spirit tells you to cut that hole in the roof for your friend, you will step out in faith and cut that hole in the roof. You will believe without doubt in the miracle Jesus has promised. You will know what the Holy Spirit is leading you to do for the sake of your friend. 


Trust Jesus if He has led you to the place on the roof. Step out in faith. If your friend has forgotten the song in his heart, believe God’s promise and pray your friend will receive it. The Holy Spirit is just waiting to meet your friend's need. 


© 2023 Lynn Lacher





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