20/ 09/ 17
Proverbs 17:17 (NIV) says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
Before I talk about this verse, I highly suggest that you read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 to read the Bible’s definition of love. Even if you’ve read it a hundred times before, read it again. Let those words soak into your mind before continuing reading here.
“A friend loves at ALL times…” That sounds hard now, doesn’t it? Love is…. Always patient? Always kind? Never envious? I’m sure you and I both could count off the top of our head at least five times we’ve been envious of a friend in the past few weeks. I can guarantee that you and I have been short tempered or unkind to a friend in the past week. I won’t even mention how well we’ve managed to be patient with them either.
Now I’m going to be vulnerable here, I have said things— and even done things—to my friends that I highly regret. In those moments when I thought nothing of their feelings, I was quick to speak instead of quick to listen. The struggle between head and heart is something to deal with even in friendships; because your mind knows what the right thing to say or do is, but your heart may be clouded with pain and decide to do the opposite.
I went through about a year where my best friend and I were struggling in our relationship. Words were said behind backs and closed doors that should never been said or even felt. Words were spoken that were untrue and hurtful. We fought and we argued and we hurt. But, after months of trial and error, we healed. We’re stronger than we’ve ever been. However, that didn’t come easily. It wasn’t by the snap of our fingers that we were magically best friends again. We had to learn to trust each other again. We had to learn to depend on each other again. Now because of what we went through, I believe it made us stronger and we have a healthier friendship because of it. We learnt things about each other and about life that some may learn the easy way, but we experienced it the hard way.
Let me tell you one thing that could have very easily helped us avoid everything we went through: communication. If we had communicated with each other, talked about how we felt during certain conversations or situations, I strongly believe that we could have avoided many hurtful words. But in order to have good communication skills with somebody, you’d have to think of not only yourself but them as well. You have to be considerate and kind—oh sounds familiar doesn’t it? If you become envious of your friend, you have to talk it out instead of harboring those feelings. Instead of growing irritated with how your friend is acting, you have to be patient and communicate what’s wrong. Love is…. Keep filling in that blank.
“…and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Brother, or sister, friend, neighbor: You insert the word that fits for your circumstance. A friend will stand by you in times of trouble, happiness, or sorrow. If you are a friend to someone, you won’t duck and cover at the first signs of cloudy weather. As Christians who have accepted Jesus and His love into our hearts, we are born for a time of adversity. Relationships don’t grow just with sunshine. Rain will come, storms will come, but will you stand firm beside each other? If my best friend and I didn’t stand firm in wanting to work our issues out, we wouldn’t be together today. We faced adversity and we came out on top because we trusted each other and leaned on God.
I’ve been alive long enough to know true, spiritual friends don’t come around very often. God places certain people in your life to challenge you, comfort you, cry with you, champion for you, and counsel you. Satan will place certain dangers in your life to do those very same things yet in a very harmful way. He will place tricksters in your life who show those same actions, but they will not stay when trials come. They will pretend to be your friend, yet they will abandon you when it benefits them. The facades they wear look an awful lot like sunshine and flowers, but those flowers will wither and the sun will fade to reveal pain and lies.
As Proverbs 16:28 says, “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” Yes, you will make friends in life who lie to you, hurt you, betray you, and replace you. Even after reading this, knowing what to look for in a healthy friendship, you will still find these false friends in life. Before entering into a friendship with my current best friend, I was fooled time and time again by a so-called friend. Life may have been easier without this friend in my life, but I believe every person placed in my path is either a blessing or a lesson, sometimes even both. This friend unknowingly bettered me into a stronger person for my future friendships. I learned what not to do, what to do, and how to do it. Sadly, I still made some of the same mistakes and hurtful actions to my best friend that this friend had done to me; however, after personal and spiritual growth, I learned how to be a better friend. I noticed what I valued in a friend and I aimed to become that as well. I didn’t have to get over what my friend did to me, because I had to go through it instead.
Long story short, your spiritual, God-given friends in life won’t give up on you, so you must not give up on them either. Adversity shows the truth in your relationships and facades reveal lies in your friendships.
I pray that none of you have to deal with the external, internal, and spiritual struggle of losing a best friend, but if you do I urge you to turn to God. If I immediately turned to His word and read what He had for me, I would’ve been motivated far sooner to close the wounds and apologize to my best friend. A spiritual friendship is worth far more than your pride.