I love the verse in the Bible, from Proverbs 17:17, which says: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” To me this epitomizes what a friend should be, along with the words from Jesus in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” In these two verses we are told that a ‘friend loves at all times,’ and that a friend lays down their life for those they consider to be a friend.
Yet, if you are like me, you have had people in your life that you think are friends, but in the end they do not prove themselves to be a friend. Maybe they only seemed to be a friend when they needed something from you. OR, maybe they were there for a while, but then you had a disagreement, and they bailed on you.
So how do you recognize a friend? I think part of the answer to this is determined by what kind of a friend you are looking for. There are different kinds of friends. Not every friend is going to be there for you in your adversity, or lay down their life for you. We will have some people in our lives that are more casual friends. We need to be careful in making the determination in regards to casual friends, somewhat good friends, and “good friends.”
It is difficult to have too many “good friends” in your life, because you can only be a good friend in return to so many. Developing friendships with those who will love at all times takes time. We might develop a friendship with someone because of common interests, or because our kids are friends. But only time will tell if this person is a real friend. Only time will tell if this person will lay down their life for you.
What will really help us to determine the good friends in our lives is when adversity comes. Maybe you are having hard times financially. Are they supporting you in some way or do they distance themselves from you? Maybe you had a disagreement. Do they seek to resolve it, or run away? Maybe you are going through health issues. Do they walk alongside you? It is the tough times of life that will help you to see who your friends truly are.Even more important, Jesus calls us His friend. Going back to John 15, Jesus says in verses 14-15: “You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” How wonderful to know that no matter what, we have Jesus as our friend. And we know He is a good friend, because He gave His life for us! Blessings.