It is not so much our friends' help that helps us, as the confidence of their help. (Epicurus)
If you have ever read the Proverbs, you will note there are a lot of passages that deal with the friends we keep, ranging from those that remind us to choose them wisely to realizing their strength in times of trouble. I would like to just spend a moment today contemplating just a few of these:
Good people are careful about choosing their friends, but evil people always choose the wrong ones. (12:26 ERV)
Choice of friends is key to both the direction and distance a relationship will travel. If we choose the right friends, they will be on course with where need to be heading, AND they will be with us through the entirety of the journey. We need both - the companionship along the way, but the wisdom and determination to help us make the best choices about the direction we take in life. If we choose wisely, the benefits are astronomical!
Be friends with those who are wise, and you will become wise. Choose fools to be your friends, and you will have trouble. (: ERV)
Conversely, the wrong choice in friends can lead to many a chaotic and unnecessary difficulty in life. When I look for someone to align my life with, I want to consistently choose someone who will "supplement" what I need most - bringing me perspective where I don't already have it. I don't always want to align with those who just "see things my way", because that limits my opportunity to see things differently. It also may not help me realize when the way I see things are contrary to the way God wants me to see them!
Forgive someone, and you will strengthen your friendship. Keep reminding them, and you will destroy it. (17:9 ERV)
We sometimes ruffle each other's feathers in relationship, but it isn't always a bad thing to get a little ruffled on occasion. It teaches us to see another's perspective in life, and the much needed quality of forgiveness done well! When we value the relationship, we learn how to successfully forgive - letting go of offenses and focusing on the extreme value of the relationship over any slight that would threaten to tear us apart.
A friend loves you all the time, but a brother was born to help in times of trouble. (17:17 ERV)
There is no greater help we can have than to know we have someone standing alongside us when we are in the midst of tough or touchy circumstances. What we get from that companionship is labeled as "help" in our passage, but we all realize "help" comes in many different forms. I think there is "help" in words, but also in actions. It comes in the form of a simple look that tells it all, as well as in laughing our way out of failures as we make our way into "trying again".
Some friends are fun to be with, but a true friend can be better than a brother. (18:24 ERV)
The "fun" ones may be the delight of the party, but the "true" one is the one who is there to cry with me, pull me up when I am down, and dust me off when the fall has left me less than "pure or clean". They aren't afraid to go the extra mile, nor are they looking for any "credit" for having done so! To have such a friend is to have what equates to a jewel in your crown! Here's hoping you all have at least one of these jewels in yours! Just sayin!