I Had a Friend…

Wayne Greeson

The poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861) asked the author Charles Kingsley (1819-1875), “What is the secret of your life? Tell me, that I may make mine beautiful also.” Thinking for a moment the beloved old author replied, “I had a friend.”

The best selling book of the last century was the Bible. The second best selling book was How to Win Friends and Influence People. Why? Because everybody wants friends. Everybody needs friends. You need friends.

When God made man, He put him in a new world in a beautiful garden, then declared, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Genesis 2:18. All of us need friends.

Jack Warner, the last of the five Warner Brothers sold his stock in Warner Brothers for 640 million dollars in the 1960’s. In the last 20 years of his life, he was a lonely man with no friends. One acquaintance recalled, “I once told him, ‘Jack, you’re so alone in this world.’ He said, ‘Richard, if you have power, you can’t have friends, because they always want something out of you.’” Warner had a lot of money, but he was very poor man.

While we need friends, we should be cautious about choosing our friends. The ancient wisdom of Solomon says, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26.

The friends you choose reveal what you are really like. Friends don’t come by accident. You can make bad choices in friends and it can harm you for years. The friends you choose, can make you or break you. “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’” 1 Corinthians 15:33.

When the actor Don Johnson’s career began taking off in the early seventies he got caught up in the Hollywood lifestyle and spent a decade with booze and cocaine. He wrecked a half dozen cars. Finally, in 1983 he got clean and sober and straightened his life out. He was asked if he had any regrets. He replied, “I regret wasting lots of time with a bunch of jerks that I wish I hadn’t spent 10 minutes with now, let alone ten years.”

A good friend is kind. “What is desired in a man is kindness….” Proverbs 19:22. A friend will celebrate with you in your victories, and weep with you in your defeats. Romans 12:15.

Friends are kind and considerate. Real friends don’t kick you when you’re down; they comfort and support you, like Job’s friends.

“Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place… to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.” Job 2:11-13. What a blessing to have friends like this.

If you want to know who your friends are, just make a mistake. A friend loves you and forgets your mistakes. “He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.” Proverbs 17:9.

True friends are good forgetters. They’re not blind, they just choose to overlook things. They’re forgiving. They don’t rub it in, they rub it out. They choose to overlook your faults.

One real friend is worth a thousand acquaintances. Someone who hangs in there with you, stays with you. “…But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24.

A good friend is committed to you, like Jonathan was to David. “[T]he soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul (and) Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.” 1 Samuel 18:1-3.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17. A friend can be counted on, dependable. A friend is in your corner when they see you’re cornered.

A friend will see you through when others see you’re through. A friend walks in when everybody else is walking out. They stand with you through thick and thin. That’s what it means to be a friend.

This was the kind of friend Ruth was to her mother-in-law, Naomi, when she vowed to stay with her and help her. “‘Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.’” Ruth 1:16-17.

Jesus came to be the best friend you could ever have. He gave his life for you and promises you a family of friends. John 15:13; Mark 10:30.

My life is richer by far for I have not just a friend in Jesus, but a whole family of brothers and sisters in Christ. The Lord has blessed me with true friends who help me, support me, pray for me, correct me and enrich my life. 3 John 14.

Make Jesus your friend. “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” John 15:14.

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