"A friend loveth at all times..." Proverbs 17:17 (KJV)
The Bible speaks often of friends and friendship. But nothing sums up friendship like this verse. It says it all.
No matter what the situation, a friend loveth. In times of peril, in times of sorrow, in times of joy, in times of betrayal and in times of disagreement, a friend loveth.
We are all familiar with the phrase "fair weather friends". Those are friends who forsake you when it's no longer in their best interest to have your friendship. We will always have friends like this, but we don't have to be such a friend.
As I look back through the years, I realize that most of my early friendships were shallow, both on the part of my friends and on my part.
Sometimes the miles separated us, sometimes differences. But whatever the reason, these friendships weren't lasting. If I saw these friends now, I wouldn't recognize them. Not only would their appearance be changed but so would their lifestyles and personalities.
I'm sure I have changed too. I've tried to grow for the better, but probably I'm only different. My old friends would not be able to identify with me anymore.
However, the older I get the more I see the importance in stability -- especially in friendships. I now have some friends that take me like I am and pray when they see me falter or fail. I try to be the same kind of friend to them.
I'm finally beginning to understand what the scripture means when it says, A friend loveth at all times... What good are we to anyone, or them to us, if we can't overcome obstacles with them?
Friendship is a two-way street. To have friends, we must show ourselves to be a friend.
"A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. " Proverbs 18:24 (KJV)
Practice being a true friend, one that loves during the good and the bad times, and you'll find that your friends will be glad to overlook your faults and failures, bad attitudes and bad judgments too.
But, if you feel you have no friends, look at the last part of this verse. You have a friend in Jesus. He will stick by you through thick and thin. He forgives your transgressions, overlooks your weaknesses, shares your joy and cries with your sorrows. He is there no matter what.
No wonder the writer penned the words "What a Friend We Have In Jesus". He had learned what true friendship is all about. And he had an acquaintance with the True Friend.
We all want a true friend, but I'd like to encourage you to be a true friend. Many sinners are living in sin simply because the World embraces them and shows them friendship.
Often that's where the church world fails. We are so closely knit together that there's no room for the unbeliever to find a true friendship in the church. How do we expect to win them?
If you want to be a soul winner, then start working on your friendly approach. You will never win anyone to Christ until you win them to yourself. When you become their friend, you'll be more able to introduce them to your friend Jesus.
If you're a sinner, remember Jesus is your friend. He loves you, no matter where you are. He cares about you and welcomes you into his home. Try being his friend. You'll not be sorry.
Jacquelyn Horne is a former newspaper reporter who has won various awards including two Delaware School Bell awards. She has poems and articles published in magazines and Christian publications. She moved from Delaware to central Georgia 13 years ago.