Sincerity clings as a concept to friendship. Mutual interest commences. Loyalty endures. Commitment completes. Friendship is beyond being stick somewhere in the mud.
Allegiance initially, that which is not followed through in commitment, is false. Thinking of the followers of Jesus—they stuck around; except Judas, that is. But, interestingly, they all betrayed Jesus at one point or other.
We find in another area of the Bible that John Mark had betrayed Paul by deserting him on one of his missionary journeys (Acts 15:36-41); this caused a split to occur later between Paul and Barnabas, the former choosing for the value of ardent loyalty in friendship—setting off with Silas to Syria and Cilicia—whilst the latter remained loyal to encourage a brother who needed forgiveness.
People who are truly loyal friends don’t commit to the long haul and then suddenly have second thoughts halfway down the track. That’s possibly a misguided wisdom they’re hearing or some character fault deep down. It’s usually very regrettable.
We follow our friends, and they us, through the winding tracks of time and location. That’s the ideal, anyway.
Enter the Reality of Things
The trouble with ideals, however, is they shatter too easily in the presence of the actual rub of life.
We will betray our friends and our friends will betray us. Our friendships will suffer this strain. There is not one person who won’t be affected by this common phenomenon.
Two things stand at the end of all this:
- How thankful should we be of truly faithful and committed friends? We reward them with the equivalent in loyalty; and,
- We need to find a genuinely forgiving place in our hearts for those who’ve betrayed us, as much as we pray for a genuinely forgiving place in their hearts, of those we’ve betrayed. And both these, when they occur, cause us again to be ever thankful.
Friendship is a great test of our Divinely-appointed human character. We’re given to faith or unbelief in our friendships as much as anything else.
And finally, thankfulness and friendship are two close siblings on the best of days.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.