In this second instalment on our meditation on relationships that could make or break any individual, we will be considering friendship.
Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul. – Proverbs 27:9 (MSG)
Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you…I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all – Mark 2:3-5, 11-12
The second type of relationship with potential to affect any individual for good or for evil is friendship. Just like marriage, the kind of friends you keep, to an extent, determines how you fare in life. Friendship is one of the best indicators of your smartness; it is also a factor in how you are perceived by people. A popular maxim says, “Show me your friend and I will tell you the kind of person you are.” If you have quality friends, they will influence you positively; but if your friends are of the run-of-the-mill stock, they will rub off on you for not too noble ends.
In this fast-paced age, the word “friendship” is fast becoming synonymous with the term, “network:” that is the number of persons you maintain informal relationships with and whose friendship could bring you benefits ranging from jobs, business opportunities, and so on.
The passage above teaches us an important value of friendship: selflessness. The friends of this paralytic man seized the initiative of carrying him to the solution to his problem – Jesus, not minding the inconveniences of his weight and the distance they had to travel to do so. When they got there and couldn’t enter the house Jesus was, they did not give up and promise to bring him some other time. Rather, they forced their way to the solution – the presence of Jesus – by climbing through the roof.
Interestingly, the Bible recalls that Jesus appreciated their efforts – “He saw their faith” – and that was all He needed to stop what He was doing to attend to the man.
The question to ask yourself always, which should be your litmus test for measuring who your real friends are is, ‘Where are my friends taking me? Are they taking me to Jesus (the solution) or drawing me away from Him (the solution)?’ Your honest answer to these questions would help you ascertain which friendship you should cultivate and which you should severe.
The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17). Therefore, any friendship that is not helping you to become better or whom you are not helping to be better should be reviewed for relevance.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!