1. Quality over Quantity
I didn’t understand as a little girl that the quality of your friendships should be valued much more than the quantity. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 notes, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
Friendships are essential to our well-being. Man was not created to be alone relationally (Genesis 2:18), but the types of relationships we pour into matter.
Proverbs 18:24 leads by example in this distinction: “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24, NIV). In Scripture, there are numerous examples of good and bad friends that demonstrate this principle.
The Bad Example
Job’s friends blame him for his heartbreak in the book of Job rather than supporting him in the unexpected turmoil. While they did encourage him in silence at one time, they were quick to speak for God without ever consulting Him (Job 4:7-8; Job 8:20; Job 11:14-17). Pharaoh’s cupbearer forgot about Joseph in jail even after Joseph saved his life (Genesis 40:1-23). Judas, who betrayed Jesus Christ, acted as a backstabber, placing his self-interest above everyone else and losing the best friend he could have ever had (Matthew 26:15-17, 25; Luke 22:47-48).
The Good Example
In the book of 1 Samuel, Jonathan is one of the most excellent examples of a true friend to David. Although Jonathan’s Father, Saul, is out to kill David, Jonathan sticks closer than a brother. While he may have been one of David’s only friends, his relationship was steadfast and true.
“Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin before your Father, that he seeks my life?” And he said to him, “Far from it! You shall not die. Behold, my Father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. And why should my Father hide this from me? It is not so.” But David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he thinks, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.’ But truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.” Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” (1 Samuel 20:1-4, ESV)
Beyond Jonathan, Jesus Christ is the purest example of a friend. Though He had 12 disciples, every one deserted Him the day they crucified His body to a cross, yet He still said, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NIV) Perhaps Romans 12:10 and 1 Peter 4:8-10 exemplify this best in Christ’s selfless sacrifice for all.
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10, NIV)
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:8-10, ESV)
Jesus’ friendship with the Father was enough to sustain Him at the cross. Though Job’s friends deserted him, it was His relationship with God that satisfied His broken soul. Out of all of our earthly friends that we evaluate, let it be known that Jesus should be our best friend who exemplifies what it means to be a sincere and faithful friend unto the end.
While having many friends is not a bad thing, it is often said that the smaller your circle, the closer your friends are, and the length of those relationships is more likely to last longer. Without the drama or gossip of large groups, individuals can pour into personal relationships more than focusing on the clique’s appearance.
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