I recently asked my four year old if she enjoyed playing with another little girl. Her response: “Yes! We both love princesses and chocolate and coloring, so we’re best friends.” I had to laugh at her simplistic perspective on friendship, but it isn’t so funny when you realize that many adults still think the same way.
So many friendships dissolve when disagreements arise that it makes me ask, “Is that true friendship?” Does a friend demand agreement on every issue? Do real friends betray each other to get what they want? Would a true friend lie about those who no longer comply with their demands? Of course the answer is a resounding, “Not a chance.”
We’ve all known a few “fair weather” friends who hang around when things are good but take off when times get tough. That’s not a real friend. Real friends don’t bail when you make a mistake or forsake you when your opinion is different than theirs. A true friend will love at all times, particularly when it is difficult. If someone “stops being your friend” because you don’t agree with them on an issue or tries to manipulate you into doing what they want, then they aren’t really your friend.
Genuine friends continue to love and care for each other even in the difficult times. God’s Word says in Proverbs 17:17 that “a friend loves at all times.” All times would include disagreement on issues and differences in preference and desire. All times would include times that you were not necessarily working for the same goal. All times encompasses instances of conflict and diversity and moments of inconvenience. A friend loves at all times. We should use this principle as a measuring rod for our friends, but also as a mirror. Let’s commit to being the kind of friend we want to have – one that doesn’t bail when times get tough.