A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
Everyone loves to have friends… I mean real friends, or at least one real friend.
The trouble is, even one ‘real’ friend is like a rare jewel. Why is that? It has to do with finding or being a person willing to pay the price of ‘real’ friendship. The proverb above, cites the fact that a person can have many companions or acquaintances that do not add any value to ones life. But this is contrasted with the beautiful rarity of having a ‘real’ friend, which is invaluable.
If you look at the subject of friendship in the bible it mostly speaks of faults and pseudo friendship, or friends that prove themselves otherwise when you really need them. Read Job, the Proverbs and many of the Psalms & you will see these warnings on what mere acquaintances or shallow friendships can turn to.
So what makes the difference between acquaintances and real friendship?
Can I suggest, being a real friend is being transparently true about all the issues of life to a person and them being the same with you. What I mean here is this. Its cool to have friends we can celebrate, enjoy and generally have a sense of camaraderie, but what happens to them when difficulties hit us.
Are we/they like Jonathan and David who shared the pain and difficulty and were willing to place even their lives on the line for each other?
What about when our “friends’ need our counsel, or maybe even our rebuke? A real friend does not hold back or refuse the words of a friend even if those true words hurt. I like the words of the theologian R.C.H. Lenski. “It is the best and truest friend who honestly tells us the truth about ourselves even when he knows we shall not like it. False friends are the ones who hide such truth from us and do so in order to remain in our favor.”