As a child, I wasn’t good at making and keeping friends. I had friends for a couple of weeks or to play at lunch time for one day with, but very few lasted long. My parents tell me that it’s probably because I was controlling and would only play the games I wanted in the way I wanted and wouldn’t let others lead. This was the first sign of the perfectionist/ control freak in me today who wants everything done properly and well and if I can’t be sure someone else will do that, I would rather take the extra pressure and use up my time and energy to do it.
I know that isn’t a good trait to have but I am also aware that my health issues mean I need to take more control in situations as I need to know that I can get to the place I am supposed to be meeting up with a friend, that there will be suitable food available, that I can keep up with people and that’s just the tip of the ice berg!
David and Jonathan are the ultimate example of a Biblical friendship that we can inspire to mimic in our relationships with others today. There are 5 main points to take note of which we can apply to our friendships:
- Good friends don’t rule out friendships with people who are different or who would not be an obvious choice.
‘As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head. . . . After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself’ – 1 Samuel 17:57 and 18:1
Jonathan was the son of Saul, David’s greatest enemy, yet Jonathan knew that David was a good person and a good friend who made risking his position, and possibly life, for him.
- Good friends are there through the good and bad.
‘As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!” “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father.’ – 1 Samuel 20:31-32
Proverbs 17:17 says ‘A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity’. Jonathan definitely didn’t run away when times got tough. Even when his father was threatening his friend’s life, he stuck by David, even risking his own life to ensure David’s safety.
- Good friends recognise a good friend.
‘You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you‘ – 1 Samuel 23:17
It can be hard to not be threatened by someone else’s achievements and possessions but Jonathan wasn’t threatened by or jealous of David. David was the Giant Slayer, favoured by God, and Jonathan recognised this too, acknowledging he was second to David – a friend of the boy who would be king.
- Good friends encourage and support one another in their relationship with God.
‘And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God’ – 1 Samuel 23:16
Choose friends who help you find strength in God. Be someone who helps others find strength in God! Love pushes us to better places. True friendship will push you to God!
- Good friends love one another as they love themselves.
‘And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.’ – 1 Samuel 18:3
‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ Jesus said. Jonathan, we are told time and time again, loved David as himself. That’s easy to say but not so easy to understand and put into practice. It means recognising our own worth and position as a child of God and that the other person is equal to us in that, it means loving that person, giving them grace and mercy and compassion and supporting and taking care of them (including in their relationship with God).
After what we have discussed above, I think many of you would agree that the ‘friends’ I had as a child were in fact not friends but rather play mates or acquaintances at best. Simply spending time with someone, even if that time is enjoyed by both parties, does not make that person a friend. A friend is so much more! Being a friend is hard at times but also rewarding and so worth the effort if both people are willing and desire to make the friendship work.
What makes you a good friend? What areas do you need to work on in order to be a better friend?
Posted: 10/03/2020 21:46:29 by