Acquaintances are nice people and they say the kindest things. They try not ruffle any feathers by saying the wrong things: they are often on their P’s and Q’s. They sometimes give a helping hand when a family member dies or someone gives birth, but don’t expect them to stick with you when your troubles persist, or calamity strikes.
That is why I have several acquaintances and few friends. True friends may not always be around, but they are there when you call them. They stay with you when the path is rough, and they are there even when you don’t solicit their help. Friends will listen to your crazy talk and tell you the truth. They never abandon you in times of trouble and so the maxim holds true that a friend in need is a friend indeed.
Many dear friends will satisfy a need for food or money if they have the means to do so. However, how many will tell us the truth when we are about to or make wrong decisions; and when we do things that are contrary to God’s word? Friendship that is predicated on lying is a sham. If your friends require you to cover up their wrongs or vice versa to maintain a relationship, you share a broken alliance that is not a friendship. You best encourage and support a friend by influencing them to do right.
Jesus showed his love for us through His death on the cross. He came to earth and put on human flesh, yet He never shared in our sins. That is why He could die for us because He was sinless. In the same way, we can love our friends and not condone or become an accessory to their sin. Unfortunately, today we are seeing more and more Christians support and even participate in ungodly acts done by friends to keep a relationship. In many cases, the party that they are protecting have no loyalty to them and view them as pawns to be used for their purpose.
The most glaring is in the political arena. Christian people become allied with political parties and charismatic leaders and end up losing their identities crusading for causes that are misaligned to Christian principles. They forfeit righteousness and vehemently justify wrongdoing when their political ally is the perpetrator; and they denounce it when the “other” commits the wrong. Essentially, they reject Jesus Christ for mere mortals who have no power and are prone to fail them. Psalm 62: 9, NIV reminds me how foolish we are when we lose our way by being caught up with people of influence:
Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath
In the same Psalm the writer notes that “power belongs to God” and with Him is “unfailing love” (v.11). What profit is there then in rejecting someone who gave up His life for you while you were helpless and blessed you with friendship when you did not deserve it for others who are unscrupulous? Jesus said this for us to understand that He is our true friend:
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:12-15, NIV).
God expects us to cultivate friendships and He commands us to love one another. However, He does not want any ideology, thing, or person to trump Him. He must have preeminence in our lives. He is always our friend in need and our friend in deed.