" I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better” – Plutarch

 Friendship is a great but tricky thing. It is often sought after but perhaps not enjoyed by a lot of folks. How many pairs of people have you known who were once great friends but no longer are?  Scores of folks find themselves in this category, myself included. I read a book when I was young entitled “ Seasons of Friendship” with the main premise being that God brings certain folks into our lives at different time periods but then also allows distance to creep into those very same relationships for one reason or another. It was an intriguing theory and one that I gave much thought to. I still am not certain as to how true it is.

One fact that I am certain of is what constitutes being a good friend. What it isn’t is always agreeing with one another. There is nothing more pathetic than two souls being “yes” folks to each other because of their own insecurities. A real friend is someone who will disagree with you to your face and yet still love you in spite of having a completely opposite viewpoint. It is someone who is not threatened or envious by your triumphs or successes and who genuinely will mourn with you during times of loss or sorrow. These all sound like warm and fuzzy “feel good” descriptions of friendship yet are truly experienced much more infrequently than we would imagine. This reality should not discourage us but challenge us to attempt to see it take place in our own lives.

The first component that is absolutely necessary in a close friendship is the bond of knowing Christ. This does not mean that friendships with nonbelievers are impossible but only that those relationships can only be enjoyed to a certain depth. Being able to share in the knowledge of why we even exist and the purpose of our very lives is paramount to having a deep and genuine friend in our lives.

I have realized that my closest friends are my family members. My husband, my children and their spouses and even my grandchildren are the deepest friendships that I experience. These are folks who surely do not always agree with me and are willing to be very vocal about it ...(ha) yet those relationships will never break. The depth of the love and commitment is too deep for that to happen.

It is a good and noble thing however to desire and cultivate similar friendships with those outside of our immediate families and that is something we should endeavor to do as it only enriches us if we can be blessed enough to find such friends. The world is starved for friendship in this anonymous society that we find ourselves in. God help us to be that kind of friend for someone else. One that does not always change or nod with us but stands beside us anyway.

What kind of friend are you? One that nods or one that stands in spite of differences?

 Proverbs 27:6 – Faithful are the wounds of a friend ; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful