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:friend: The other day I received by e-mail a number of beautiful wise sayings on friendship. I would like to share three of these gems with you:

"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."

"Friendship is one mind in two bodies."

"If all my friends were to jump off a bridge, I wouldn't jump with them, I'd
be at the bottom to catch them."

Beautiful, not so. True friendship, the kind that these words of wisdom are about, is rare. Many friendships are superficial and selfish, and this has nothing to do with modern times. Even the great Greek philosopher, Aristotle, declared that most friendships were based on “use value”. In other words, many are interested only in whether it is to their advantage to be friendly with person X, Y, or Z. Many use up a friend, merely to give him the push afterwards. Take the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15. When he had lots of money to spend on wild parties he had many friends, but when he had nothing left everyone disappeared and left him quite alone.

To have a friendship like that of David and Jonathan

Not everyone you know can be your friend. True friendship requires time, loyalty, compassion and sacrifice. Take David and Jonathan. It was not for nothing that their friendship became a maxim in popular parlance. In 1 Samuel 20 we read how strong their friendship was. Once, when King Saul, JonathanÂ’s father, wanted to kill David, and David got to hear of it and told Jonathan, Jonathan was badly shocked and promised to help his friend by establishing whether his father really intended doing it.

They arranged that Jonathan would speak to his father at meal-time, and that David would go and hide in a field where he would wait to hear from his friend. Jonathan came to realise that Saul was serious about killing David, but at the same time Saul caught on to Jonathan’s plans to warn David. Saul scolded Jonathan and insisted that he brought David to him to be killed (1 Samuel 20:30-31). Jonathan refused and went against his father by wanting to know “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” (verse 32).

Saul was beside himself with rage when he realised that the friendship between Jonathan and David was so strong that his son was prepared to go against his father. He was so enraged that he hurled his spear at Jonathan to kill him. Lucky for Jonathan he missed. Jonathan knew that DavidÂ’s life was in danger (verses 33-34). The following morning he went to the field where David was hiding and gave him a sign warning him to flee immediately. But first David came to say goodbye to his good friend. Both cried bitterly for they were dear friends and they knew that their roads were parting (verses 41-43).

Their great friendship teaches us two precious lessons:

:friend: Lesson one: True friendship is prepared to sacrifice all

To really be someoneÂ’s friend you have to stand by him through thick and thin. Take Jonathan: He was prepared to brave his fatherÂ’s rage, and possibly be killed himself, to save his friendÂ’s life. His friendship did not have as many phases as the moon. He was not one who made empty promises only to break them behind DavidÂ’s back. No, when he gave his word he kept it, even if it meant paying a high price. Jonathan never stabbed David in the back. He remained loyal to the end, even if that end meant his death. By the way, do your friendships cost you anything? Not the cost of taking your friends out for a cup of coffee or a meal. No, the cost of making sacrifices for them. Can your friends really depend on you? When lies are spread about them in their absence, do you defend their name? Do you remain loyal even though they do inexplicable things sometimes? Are you often willing to go the extra mile for them?

:friend: Lesson two: True friendship is based on honesty and openness, and is a mutual blessing

True friendship is being honest. No, not rudely outspoken, but frank. Take David. He made no bones about telling Jonathan his father was planning to murder him. Yes, Jonathan was shocked to hear that Saul wanted David dead, but he realised that his friend wanted to spare him the shock and hurt of learning about it later.

You owe your friends your honesty. If they are about to take a wrong decision because they are unaware of the implications, then it is your responsibility to point it out. If others try to do them an injustice, you are the one who should warn them in a tactful way. Be a friend your friends can count on. Always be there for them. But most importantly: always pray for all your friends. Carry them shoulder-high when you take your place at the feet of God. :friends:

:friend: Prayer

Almighty Father, I thank You for other people,

especially for dear friends.

I am thankful for everyone who makes my lifeÂ’s journey so much easier;

through their love I am able to take on many an uphill road.

I pray that I will also be their true friend;

someone they can depend on through thick and thin.

Please hear my prayers for everyone who is dear to me.

In JesusÂ’ Name,


Stephan Joubert