Conntecting the Dots

3 Characteristics of True Friendship

What does true friendship look like? David and Jonathan’s relationship pictures it well. Here’s one account that illustrates three characteristics of meaningful friendship:

“One day near Horesh, David received the news that Saul was on the way to Ziph to search for him and kill him. Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. Don’t be afraid,” Jonathan reassured him. “My father will never find you! You are going to be the king of Israel, and I will be next to you, as my father, Saul, is well aware.” So the two of them renewed their solemn pact before the LORD. Then Jonathan returned home, while David stayed at Horesh” (1 Samuel 23:15-18).

#1 – True friendship disregards inconvenience. David and his motley crew were roaming the countryside, hiding from Saul and his henchmen.  Without cell phones and texting, they must have been difficult to find. But Jonathan cared enough about David that he made the effort to locate his friend.  He knew he needed encouragement and he pursued him until he found him.

How does that look in today’s world? We need to take the time and make the effort to encourage others in need. Yes, life is busy. We’re all busy. But truth be told, sometimes we just need to stop the rush long enough to pray with someone, send a greeting card, or make a phone call.

A couple of years ago, my childhood best friend underwent a bone marrow transplant. The transplant was successful, but another type of cancer invaded her body during that treatment. She was moved to hospice for her final weeks.

We’d lost contact with each other over the years, but through that turn of events, I found her and gave her a call. I was scheduled to fly to eastern Canada a couple of weeks later for a media interview. I was to switch flights in her city and had an hour or so on the ground. Knowing that was my only window of opportunity to see her before she moved to heaven, I rearranged my flight so I could spend about five hours with her.  Doing so meant paying a fee and arriving at my destination much later than my liking, but it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in the context of my friendships.

She and I talked about childhood memories, about her thoughts on heaven and saying goodbye to her family, about Jesus and His faithfulness, and more. I will cherish that day for the rest of my life.

How about you? Do you know someone who needs encouragement but offering it means an inconvenience to you? Don’t miss out!

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#2 – True friendship means helping one another keep the right focus. Jonathan encouraged David to stay strong in his faith in God. He could have planned a strategy to get rid of Saul so David could return home and get on with his life, but he chose a better way.

What a great example for us today! We, too, need to encourage our friends to keep the faith. To live God-honoring lives. To rise above the status quo. To settle for nothing less than God’s best even when it’s tough.

#3 – True friendship means spurring one another on to become what God has intended. Humanly speaking, Jonathan was heir to the throne. He saw life from God’s perspective, however, and knew that David was God’s choice. He didn’t try to usurp David’s position, nor did he become jealous. He cheered David on to fulfill god’s purpose for his life.

We, too, need to encourage our friends to pursue God’s purposes for their lives. We need to reassure them that we’re there for them, cheering them on through thick and thin.

What are your thoughts? What characteristics do you value in true friendship?

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