The voice of wisdom travels through millennia to tell us “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”
I have two thoughts on this verse today.
First, in today’s culture we seem to have a misunderstanding of “loyal.” We tend to think if our friend disagrees with us, he or she isn’t really our friend. We think that they have to be there for us in the light of day and the dead of night – 24/7.
What misconception! (I wonder who has perpetrated that. Could it be the enemy of our souls?)
The very best friend will disagree with us at times. They aren’t afraid to say so.
Those friends love us too much to let us go on in our wrong thinking without challenging us. They refuse to let us wallow in self-pity. They show us our mistakes so we can correct them.
That’s real love.
Trouble is, nowadays, we throw those friends out by the wayside, then talk about what a poor friend they were.
In those situations, the poor friend is US.
Second, in reading through other versions, I found these two that intrigue me:
“A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity.”
Complete Jewish Bible:
“A friend shows his friendship at all times — it is for adversity that [such] a brother is born.”
The other English versions make it seem like two different people, this friend and that brother.
These two translations make us realize that this friend IS a brother.
What’s the big deal about that?
I’ve didn’t grow up with siblings, but I’ve watched families and the sibling dynamic is astounding. They can pick on each other, even fight each other, but when someone comes against one of the siblings, the battle changes because in an instant all the siblings are lined up with their brother or sister.
They might talk bad about their brother or sister, but if someone else does, the battle is on.
I fully believe Wisdom was defining a loyal friend as one who is like a brother.
One who will point out your faults and love you fiercely.
One who will fight you, and the biggest giant that comes after you.
One who will taunt you and tease you and fuss at anyone else who does the same.
One who sees your physical need and comes quickly to help.
One who knows your heart and is there to lift you up when it’s bruised or broken.
A loyal friend doesn’t run when you get angry, even when you say ugly things.
A loyal friend may not see you for long periods, but is praying for you and loves you from afar.
Do you have a friend like that?
Are you a friend like that?
Coffee, Bible, Journal.