A friend and a brother - 18 August 2017

Danny Fourie

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.  Proverbs 17:17

When is someone a true friend? When he or she loves at all times, writes Solomon. Not for one day or one year, but at all times. Not only in times of prosperity, but also in times of adversity.

True friendship is a rare thing. Less rare is the friendship as in the parable of the prodigal son. As long as there is money and things, there are swarms of friends gathered around one. But when the money is gone, one won’t see those ‘friends’ again. Such friendships are not true friendships. It is secretive egoism.

True friendship is like a sheaf of wheat that germinates from the wheat grain of love. Mostly it grows slowly. A friendship that grows quickly normally does not last long. As the wheat grain dies to itself for the sake of the grown wheat, in the same way the one sacrifices him- or herself for the sake of the friendship.

Solomon puts a high price on friendship. There is something wonderful in a friendship; love. This friendship is one of free choice. There is no obligation. This is what makes the friendship unique.

One thinks of the friendship between David and Jonathan. One hears how the love cries when Jonathan is killed and David directs his grief towards heaven (2 Samuel 1:17-27). Such a true friendship endures through tough times. Precisely in times of need one discovers who one’s true friends are.

In times of need a friend becomes like a brother (or sister). This what Solomon means when he says: ‘… a brother is born for a time of adversity.’ If a friend stays true, even in adversity, then he or she becomes a brother or sister. But it goes deeper. Such a brother or sister is born. There is something of a surprise, but in the case of a birth it goes with pain too. Such a friend is a gift of God, a brother or sister who is a support and comfort for his or her fellow man.

This friendship originates from the fear of the Lord. It is awakened by the Holy Spirit. It grows from the fear of the Lord and bears fruit of brotherly love.

Prayer: Lord, often people who we thought were our friends let us down. Help us to find true friends. Help us to be a true friend to someone. Today.  Amen.


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