Who Is A True Friend?

“The poor are shunned by all their relatives- how much more do their friends avoid them! Though the poor pursue them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found.” –Proverbs 19:7 (NIV)

The idea of fair-weather friends was a concept I was first introduced to in elementary school. Whenever a child has the latest toy or gadget, he was the coolest kid on the playground. Everybody wanted to be friends with him in hopes that their own prestige would be lifted up. However, this led the child to think that the attention he was receiving was true and genuine friendship. Thus, it was a sad sight to see the child’s dejected face when his so called “friends” deserted him after circumstances took away that which made him popular. Such scenes, of which even I was on the receiving end,  taught me  early that true friends stick with you regardless of your circumstances because they love you for who you are; not because of what you have or what you can do for them.

Yet sometimes it seems that we have not let go of this tragic attitude from childhood. How often do we pursue friendships only because we see something that we can gain for ourselves? While we might claim that we will stand by our friends no matter what comes their way, if selfish ambition has been the basis of our friendship then we will abandon them while they are in midst of trials. This will reveal not only how hollow our love was for them, but how crooked and shamelessly selfish we are as we trample over them by our betrayal. Perhaps we lament the destruction and misery we have caused by abandoning friends in their time of need and wonder if there is any way we can change. Our only hope is when we have allowed ourselves to be transformed by Christ. Sin has caused us to act in selfishness toward others, which is contrary to love. When we have allowed Christ’s Spirit to enter our hearts and free us from our sinful nature, He will help us see those around us through His eyes; as lost and broken souls in need of His love. By submitting ourselves in humility to Him He will cause His love and faithfulness to overflow from within our hearts so as to bring healing and hope to those who are hurting.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.