I’ve been pondering lately about the value of friendship: What defines it, what makes it different from other, shallower relationships.
In this part, I’ll address some of the spiritual aspects of friendship.
There are a few passages in the Bible that illustrate friendship. The example that most stands out to me is David and Jonathan in 1 and 2 Samuel. Other references to and maxims about friendship can be found in the Writings (e.g., Proverbs, Psalms).
This July, while I was in the Netherlands, I read several passages in Proverbs and composed a poem based on them. It expresses well the feelings I have toward my friends.
A Faithful Friend
Thy reproach, O friend, is faithful.
What have I to do with the flattery of mine enemies?
They are as naught to me.
The gifts thou hast given me
Endear thy soul to me
And arouse my deepest gratitude.
Though calamity rage and my brother be far,
Thou dost stand close; thou lendest thy strength
To succor me.
What is thy counsel but sweetness to me
That rejoiceth my heart
And sharpeneth my countenance?
Thy counsel, thy strength, thy gifts—
My heart doth soar in thanksgiving to my Maker
For His gift—a faithful friend.
The counsel, advice, even rebuke of my friends is always done in love. Because I feel that love and know that their intention is to help me become a better person, I accept it gladly. My friends have given me gifts of many types. Most often it was simply spending time with me or giving of themselves in some simple way to help me. They have stood by me in the good times and in the hard times.
Indeed, supportive friends have helped me become the person I am today. They have helped me develop spiritually in the way that was best for me. It has been especially rewarding to reunite with them after we’ve been separated for two years all over the world.