A definition

A friend is someone who likes you even though he/she doesn’t have to. He/she isn’t a relative or doesn’t work for you. This person is an individual who has established a genuine bond with you. He/she is there for you. You have good contact with each other on a regular basis, even if it is only once a year. You are comfortable with each other, can share personal feelings and concerns with each other, relax and have fun together, or share some serious moments of support and encouragement.

Friendship is a GOOD gift, because it provides part of the cement that holds neighborhoods, communities, groups, governments, and our world of sinful humans together. It is far reaching, extending around the world, and its benefits can span the decades of anyone’s life and continue into eternity.

The need for a friend

Human beings were not created to live alone. A human infant from the time of his or her birth and extending into the moments following his or her death needs the presence of someone else in his or her life to help him or her to survive. As an infant he or she cannot move to reach a woman's breast to suck on her nipple to be nourished with her milk. Throughout his or growing experiences, he or she will need someone else to provide the basic resources that are necessary for his or her survival and education. And after his or her death, he or she will need someone else to provide a decent burial for his or her body. In the beginning when human beings were created, God was the basic "person" with whom Adam, his created human being, related. Then God realized that he would need a partner to join him in his living responsibilities and experiences in this world, so he created a woman from one of his ribs, and she assumed the responsibilities and role of his "wife" to be his helping and supporting partner in all that he was doing as long as he was alive on this earth. Since these caring relationships were broken by human sin, human beings have struggled with the curse of lonliness from their broken relationships with God, their parents, their spouse, and others with whom they have sought to establish a loving and caring personal relationships. Being in a relationship with a friend or friends is a great relief from the curse of lonliness.

Cultivating friendships

GOOD friendships are not bought or sold. Although they can’t be bought or sold, they can be given away. That is usually how they are received and experienced. The attraction may start with a friendly word or gesture or deed. It may be strengthened by some common shared experiences of fellowship, social fun, or even personal suffering. In a short while it may be recognized by both individuals that they are becoming good friends. So the friendship is carefully and thoughtfully nourished and protected. As it grows and is sustained through the years, it can expand to reach and to touch others and bring them into circles of friendship.

There shouldn’t be a doubt in anyone’s mind that it is good to have friends, that friendship is good. Therefore it should be easily admitted that being friendly is a GOOD gift to be shared with others. But it should also be easy to recognize that friendships can be polluted or damaged by a variety of harmful, “sinful”, and otherwise selfish attitudes and actions.

Friendship can make a difference

I encourage everyone to take thoughtful care of his or her friends. They are somewhat rare and very precious. And I urge everyone to be willing and ready to be a friend to others and to share this beautiful and GOOD gift of friendship with others. Note this statement on the value of friends from the Bible: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiasties 4:9–12)

Friendship is especially GOOD when you share God’s love in Jesus Christ with someone else. Such a sharing friendship will last forever. This is one GOOD gift that can make a lot of difference in the way “sinful” humans relate to each other and to God in this world!

The above Scripture quotation is taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1987, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.