Everybody Needs a Friend October 16, 2023

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Just days ago I walked somberly through an exhibit that showed the horrors of Auschwitz. It was a stark reminder to me of how hatred consumes darkened hearts and how much pain it can inflict on others. We all would do well to remember that in these days.

Near the end of the very graphic displays there was a section that captured my attention. On the walls before me were testimonials of how friendship was what enabled the survivors of that terrifying place to endure such hardship.

One survivor of Auschwitz said, “Friendship made a difference. Taking care of someone other than yourself. If you did not have a friend you did not have a zeal for life.” Another said, “You had to have a partner – a partner to take care of you – and you take care of him. You had to have someone to help because if you stood by yourself, you couldn’t survive. You didn’t survive. There were those who didn’t want to share anything. And those were the people who went first.”

In a world of wickedness and a time of terror, everybody needs a friend! When enemies are everywhere it is vital that we concentrate on the friends God graciously gives us. This week I am speaking at the Baptist Friends meeting, and the reunion with so many friends has been so refreshing for me personally.

Solomon wrote, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

There are so many blessings associated with friendship: partnership, joy, support, help, strength, accountability, and a hundred other benefits. Yes, everybody needs a friend. And we must not think of friendship selfishly – how can we be the friend that both we and others need?

Start here…

  1. Learn the unchanging friendship of Christ. One of the miracles of mercy is that Jesus called His disciples friends (John 15:15). Concentrate first on your greatest relationship, and rejoice in the intimacy you have with God through Jesus.
  2. Seek to be a friend to God. This is not the same as His friendship to us. His friendship to us is unquestioned; our friendship to Him is up to us. Many who have enjoyed the friendship of Christ have lived more like a friend of the world than a friend to their perfect Friend (James 4:4). Abraham was called “the friend of God” (Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23). Scripture says that God spoke to Moses “as a man speaketh to his friend” (Exodus 33:11). Faith and obedience brings us near to God and demonstrates our heart of friendship to Him.
  3. Develop meaningful friendships with others. The older I get the more I realize that true friends are rare gifts – and, that you have to continually invest in those relationships! Ask God to give you spiritual friends (Proverbs 27:6, 9, 10, 14, 17). Then, don’t take them for granted. Be grateful for those the Lord providentially brings into your life.
  4. Be the friend you want. You don’t get what you want, you get what you are. Too often we wait on others to befriend us, but we must be the initiators (Proverbs 18:24). 
  5. Be a friend to sinners. In this, we are most like our Master who was called the “friend of sinners” (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34). Show the love of God to others. The best friend any person has is the one who wants you to know Christ and live with Him for ever.

Everybody needs a friend. By God’s grace, determine to be one today.

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