Shepherd Elie Hamuli
Friendship is important since it allows us to pick and choose who we associate with. So, we must learn how to make judicious, cautious decisions. Don’t be fooled, the Bible warns in 1 Corinthians 5:23 (NKJV), “Evil company corrupts good habits.” Our life will always be impacted in some way by the individuals we surround ourselves with. As a result, hanging out with bad people will taint our moral character.
King Jehoshaphat, who was a good ruler for a portion of his reign, is described in 1 Kings 18. Up until he assumed the throne, all of the the kings that came before him were evil. He was described as having followed God’s directions and walked in David’s footsteps. But it was because of his friendship with King Ahab, Jezebel’s husband, that he turned evil in the latter part of his reign. The book of 2 Chronicles goes into further detail on the tale of his wickedness. The story of King Jehoshaphat demonstrates how spending time with a bad guy may corrupt good principles. There are two crucial components to friendship: a relationship and a feeling. When it’s only feelings, it can be felt by one person alone and isn’t always reciprocal. And that emotion makes it possible to give or receive particular things. The other component of friendship would then be the relationship which can sometimes lead to a covenant.
A friendship relationship can exist without it being a covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two parties who make binding promises to each other and commit to reaching those goals together – usually spoken. Therefore, a covenant in a relationship adds a binding element, which can be by words (vows), blood, and even sex.
The impact of a covenant will include our descendent; it doesn’t end with the people that make it. In 2 Chronicles 20:7, Jehoshaphat faced many armies surrounding him. When he prayed to God, He claimed that he was a beneficiary of the friendship covenant between Abraham and God. Covenants do not stop where they started but extend to generations that follow. Another example of a covenant that transcended generations is found in 1 Samuel 20:14-15 and 2 Samuel 9:1. David had a covenant with Jonathan. After Jonathan passed, David was looking for the remaining members of Saul’s family to do good to them for the sake of Jonathan.
Covenants are powerful and will speak on your descendant’s behalf even after you are no longer alive. When we read the Bible, we see there are six types of covenants. The first one was the Adamic covenant between God and Adam. The second one was between God and Noah, known as the Noahic covenant, where God promised not to wipe out humanity as He did with the flood. The third one was the Abrahamic covenant, which was made between God and Abraham. Fourth, we have the Mosaic covenant between God and Moses, and fifth; we have the Davidic covenant between God and David. Lastly is the covenant between God, through Jesus with humanity, which is the better covenant because we are all included by accepting Jesus Christ in our lives.
In all the covenants mentioned above, there was a clear definition of what they entailed. Thus, something important about friendships or relationships is that they should be defined. When a relationship is not defined, everything transferred will not be clear, and every party is left to define the relationship as they see fit. The responsibilities, duties, and roles become clear once the relationship is properly defined. It is absurd to lay claims of expectations from another party when they are unaware of their exact role in our lives. Apart from the two components of friendship, there are also two types. The first is a seasonal friendship, built from a season we share with certain people – it’s time-bound. There is a common factor or interest that brings different parties together. These friends could be from school, work, or even the same neighbourhood, and the relationship tends to die out once that season is over.
The end of a seasonal relationship does not mean they have become our enemies.
The second type of friendship is destiny friendship, which is often birthed from a seasonal friendship. It is crucial to identify which friend is which; otherwise, we will find ourselves fighting for things we are supposed to let go of or letting go of things we are supposed to fight for.
Knowing how many friends we have is essential because that sets a precedent for how we relate to people. Everyone in our walk of life should not be considered a friend. Friendship is often associated with loyalty, and the Bible says in Proverbs 17:17, A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” [NKJV]. So, through the good, the bad, and the in-between, a good friend will always love through it all. Proverbs 18:24 contrast two friends, one who sticks closer than a brother and the other who destroys. The danger of having too many friends is that we can have a friend that destroys. When there are fewer friends, it is easy to detect and see a friend that is there to destroy.
Friendship is important, but caution needs to be taken when selecting friends. Humans are social beings, so it is in our nature to want to make friends. The Bible says that it is not good for a man to be alone, and that does not only apply to marriage. With that said, it is important to understand the difference between being alone and loneliness. Loneliness is a feeling, and being alone is just a physical state; that’s why it is possible to be around people and still feel lonely. Loneliness is dangerous, but being alone is sometimes important because certain life decisions must be made alone. The cure for loneliness is to be alone with God. Friendship is also important because it gives us companionship and support when we are unable to continue. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 speaks of the valuable aspects that having a friend brings to our lives; it is important to have someone to share life with.
It is important to have someone you are accountable to and strong with; a good friendship brings all that and more.
There needs to be sobriety when it comes to choosing and ranking friends. It is unfair to expect a friend to do something we would not be willing to do. With that comes the topic of tough love; it sounds fine when we give it but tastes bitter when we receive it. Love should be gentle, and the only tough thing about love should be the sacrificial part attached to it when it is given. Hence, toughness is not for the person receiving it but for the person giving it sacrificially. Love was never meant to be tough in its reception but tough on the one sacrificing.
In all this, we tend to point fingers at people as bad friends, but often we do not look within to see whether we are good friends to others. There are many things that would make us a good friend to others, and among them is serving. A good friend is a friend that serves in the interest of the other party. It is the example that Jesus set in the Bible when He washed the disciple’s feet.