A few mornings ago, whilst reading the story of the paralysed man in Mark 2:1-12, it struck me just how much creativity was displayed by the man's friends in this situation. I'd actually planned to write about the creativity of the friends in cutting a hole in the roof to lower their friend through to Jesus but decided to focus on the great display of love and friendship that was shown in that story. How incredible to have friends with that level of persistence to ensure their friend's healing! Friendships can bring (or take away) so much from our lives and Godly friendships are absolutely necessary, especially when we're in need. This story is just one of many examples of great friendships in the bible and I'd like to share a few of these with you:
David & Jonathan: Arguably the first ever bromance documented in history. From the moment David started working for King Saul in the palace, David and Jonathan developed a friendship that grew into brotherhood. Jonathan demonstrated his love for David by warning him of King Saul's plot to kill him. Jonathan even went so far as to offer to spy on is father for David and reveal whatever plot was devised to kill David (1 Samuel 19). In 1 Samuel 20, Jonathan makes a vow to do everything in his power to shield David from his father and values his friendship with David over the evil deeds of his father. Blood or not, Jonathan cared about David and did what he needed to to protect him from harm.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah: This foursome endured exile together and through all the challenges, stuck together as friends. Whenever there were threats to their lives, they negotiated for each other and didn't make selfish decisions. In Daniel 2, when God reveals the meaning of Nebuchadnezzar's dream to Daniel and he's promoted, Daniel ensures his friends come up with him and requests for them to be promoted also. He didn't leave his friends behind.
Jesus and Lazarus: Jesus had many friends but one significant emotional reaction from Jesus was caused by the death of his friend, Lazarus. For His friend, Jesus cried out to His Father and prayed for Lazarus to be brought back to life. One of the greatest examples of intercession for a friend.
Paul and Silas: there are many accounts of Paul and Silas doing ministry together and this is clearly a key component of their friendship. Having someone who understands the call of God upon your life and walks the same road with you, there's nothing like it. When they were imprisoned, they were able to pray together and were freed from chains. Let me hear an amen for friends who pray with you to break chains!
Proverbs 18:24 - "One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
Based on the examples above, here are some qualities you should consider in your friends (and also develop yourself):
Love: one of the most important qualities in a friendship or any type of relationship for that matter. Without love, there is no way true friendship can be achieved or sustained. Love is what will deliver those tough messages when you need them and will also deliver those encouraging words when needed!
Trust: you need someone you can share your innermost thoughts with, especially during those difficult seasons in life.
Loyalty: like Jonathan was to David, a loyal friend is very valuable when the world seems to be against you.
Understanding: you don't have to be the same as someone in order to understand them. A friend who understands what makes you the way you are is more likely to appreciate you, warts and all.
Inspiring: friends should inspire each other in words and in deeds. Having someone you admire and who motivates you because of the way they are is a great reminder to continue to improve ourselves.
If any of the examples above are causing you to question the friendships in your life, maybe now is the time to pray for clarity about the people you have in your life. If this post is reminding you of the good friendships you have in your life, cherish them. If you realise that maybe you haven't even a good friend to those around you, learn from the examples highlighted. There are so many other examples but for me, these are the ones that stand out because of the qualities displayed!