Robert Griffith | 9 July 2024
Robert Griffith
9 July 2024


C.S. Lewis asserted, “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

Trusted and treasured friendships certainly add joy and stability to life’s adventures. Mark Twain quipped, “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”

Some people are just acquaintances, but some acquaintances become dear friends. The ancient wisdom writer pre-supposes that for most of life, human beings are going to be engaged in dynamic human relationships. In The Message, Proverbs 18:24 is translated, “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.”

Friends are people with whom you dare to be yourself. They ask you to put on nothing, only to be what you are. They do not want you to be better or worse. When you are with them, you feel as a prisoner feels who has been declared innocent. You do not have to be on your guard. You can say what you think, as long as it is genuinely you.

Friends understand those contradictions in your nature that lead others to misjudge you. With them you breathe freely. You can avow your little vanities and envies and hates and vicious sparks, your meanness and absurdities, and in opening them up to friends, they are lost, dissolved on the white ocean of their loyalty. They understand. You do not have to be careful. You can abuse them, neglect them, tolerate them. Best of all, you can keep still with them. It makes no matter. They like you.

Friends are like fire that purges to the bone. They understand. You can weep with them, sing with them, laugh with them, pray with them. Through it all – and underneath – they see, know, and love you. What is a friend? I repeat, a person with whom you dare to be yourself.

However, in a highly competitive world where individuals are dominated by self-interest, how do you keep relationships healthy and growing? Sustainable friendship is a gift from God.

Churches are built on both faith and friendship. Members of a congregation are diverse friends from a variety of backgrounds who stick together in tough times, who bring out the best in each other, and who collaborate in missional initiative, despite their differences, to live out a common faith conviction.

Maybe the Quakers have it right in referring to their faith community as “The Society of Friends.”

So, I want to encourage you to treasure the friendships you have and look forward to making new friends in the days ahead. Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote, “So long as we are loved by others, I would almost say that we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend.”

Maintaining a good friendship requires grace, mercy, patience, and perseverance. E.C. McKenzie observed that “some people make enemies instead of friends because it is less trouble.”  I, for one, contend that true friendship really is worth the hassle.

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