I've been thinking about loyalty and true friendship lately, and as always I think of them in terms of Christianity. What kind of friend am I...what kind of friends do I want...and what does God say on the matter.
We have all failed at being the right kind of friend in one way or another in our lives if we are honest about it. If we can correct it, do it...if time has taken away that particular opportunity, then let it be a lesson that we learn so we can go on and be a friend that we know our Father would be proud of.
I had my first hard lesson about friendship when I was in Junior High (yes, I am old enough that it was still called Junior High instead of Middle School). I was "friends" with a boy who sold drugs. I didn't KNOW that (I was a VERY naive young lady), but my school administrators did. One day those administrators came to me and told me that this boy was selling drugs to my little brother and sister who were in grade school...well, not TO them, but they were in danger. They asked me to buy drugs from him and bring them to the office if I wanted to save my little brother and sister. WOW, I didn't want my siblings to be in danger, so with my naive little self I did just what they told me to do. I was so PROUD to have saved them! What I learned the next day shaped my entire life...and to this day I cringe a little when I hear the word NARC. I got a quick education that in the world that was a VERY BAD THING TO BE! For the next 4 years I was taunted, spit on, my life threatened...EVERY place I went this type of thing came at me. I walked in the halls with that word chanted behind me...it was a devastating time and I learned to NEVER show fear or upset as a survival tool. My parents had to follow me around at school for part of a year to make sure I was safe. Those things were horrible, but the worst thing of all was my "friends" all left me. We have to understand that kids can be cruel, and that peer pressure is HUGE at that age...so it isn't the same as in the adult world as far as maturity goes..(well, sort of...) .but the effect was damaging all the same. The WORST part of it all was one day I came home to a note pinned to my front door. It was a POEM describing how bad I was and wrong I had been to the tune of Hello Dolly. I may not remember the exact words, but I remember the tune and the message was in short...we aren't your friends anymore...and it was signed by my "friends".
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
We should have loyalty as part of our friendships. Loyalty is a strong quality...the bible equates it to a relationship with a brother...(you know that concept..."I can pick on my brother, but don't let anyone else do it!!") Proverbs 18:24 - "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Loyalty is the glue that holds us together and in this world it is a rarity. How many of your acquaintances would you feel were completely loyal to you? This tells me that we may know a good number of people, but only trust your deepest thoughts with a true friend that has the quality of loyalty...and that doesn't come over night...it takes time...so beware of sharing too much too lightly as it will cause...well...ruin!
We learn more from the bible about friendships...Proverbs 17:17 - "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity". What does that MEAN? Well, I understand it to mean that a true friend will love us as we are...warts and all so to speak...but OUR responsibility is to be the same friend to them...accepting all their warts and to work to not be a friend who is bitter. We need to be able to communicate honestly and openly with kindness.
I took the following RIGHT out of a christian website I found called Christianityabout.com...I couldn't have said it better...
The scripture is from I Corinthians 13:4 - "Love is patient,love is kind...it does not envy"...If you feel smothered in a friendship, something is wrong. Likewise, if you feel used or abused, something is amiss. Recognizing what's best for someone and giving that person space are signs of a healthy relationship. We should never let a friend come between us and our spouse. A true Christian friend will wisely avoid intruding and recognize your need to maintain other relationships. ie: YOUR MARRIAGE! This is SO important to remember...my parents reminded my husband and I of Matthew 19:6 when we got married..."So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." This means NEITHER one of us are to put the other asunder either...and that includes friends...NO FRIEND SHOULD EVER INTERFERE WITH A MARRIAGE...IF THEY DO...THEY ARE NOT TRUE FRIENDS!! LIKEWISE...NO SPOUSE SHOULD EVER PUT A FRIEND ABOVE A MARRIAGE!!
and, finally...(If you have more I'd LOVE to hear it!) I have one more thing that relates to friendships...it is found in Proverbs 27:6 - "Wounds from a friend can be trusted ..". If you have a true friend...IF that friend is indeed true and they see something that needs to come to your attention that would benefit you...listen to them...love them...let them gently help you...and be the same for them...ONLY TRUE friends can do this...and should!