A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.Proverbs 17:17(NASB)
The qualities of a true friend or a beloved brother are best exemplified in the life of the Lord Jesus. A true friend loves at all times, in good circumstances and during times of greatest difficulty and hardships, and Jesus reminded us that the greatest of all love is expressed when a friend is prepared to give up his own life for that of his friend - or to forego his own desires and needs for the sake of his dearly beloved friend.
Loyalty in friendship is a grace that becomes all the more precious when, despite intensifying hardships, a friend is there to comfort and help, and the Scriptures remind us never to abandon a friend, nor even to forsake the friends of your father or mother. All true friendships are of great value, but it is a double blessing when friendships traverse the generations.
How sad it is when a confidence is broken or when a friendship is fractured as a result of gossip or the inability to maintain an entrusted confidence. An unguarded tongue or the inability to maintain trust can become a sharp blade that can slice through a valued friendship, and the Scriptures remind us that a gossip betrays a confidence, but a man of integrity keeps a secret: "A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter."
But honesty is also a mark of genuine friendship and we also read in the Word: "Faithful are the wounds of a friend but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." Correction is not always appreciated, although it should be always accepted and welcome when coming from a loyal, trusted, and sensitive friend. True and lasting friendship can never be built on deceitfulness of duplicity, and even through the truth may sting our pride, when the truth is spoke in love it should always be acted upon, for through it, the Spirit of God will teach a valuable lesson and further build our Christian character and grace.
Wise counsel and spiritual encouragement is the calling-card of the friend that loves at all times, and loyalty, sensitivity, and a genuine interest in the other are the qualities of the brother that travels through adversity with us. May we take on these qualities in our dealings with our friends, and praise God when we discover them to be the qualities that characterise our own friends and brothers and sisters-in-Christ.
Heavenly Father, I thank You for the dear friends that You have brought into my life and for the love and comfort that I have received from them over the years. I pray that I would develop the many qualities of genuine friendship, and that You would use me to be a friend to others in their times of need. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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