A faithful friend is beyond price

Several years ago, sociologists at Duke University published a study on isolation in America.   The study found that over the past two decades, Americans’ circle of close friends has shrunk dramatically.   Twice as many people report that they have no one with whom they can share important matters.

According to the study, the pace of modern life keeps us from developing deep and lasting friendships.   Between busy schedules, changing obligations, and the growth of isolating devices like smartphones and tablets, we can allow ourselves to drift away from one another.   What makes it even worse is that many people want to have faithful friends — and to be faithful friends — but they find it very challenging.   How sad that so many people feel alone!

Sirach describes the kind of friend we all want to have — one who sticks by us no matter what.   In good times and bad, through ups and downs, a true friend remains faithful.   It’s no accident that this quality of faithfulness is echoed in the wedding vows we profess: for better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, until death.

So how do we learn to love like that?   By steeping ourselves in the knowledge of God’s faithfulness:   his unwavering, reliable commitment to us.   The more we experience what this kind of friendship is like, the more ready we will be to show it to the people closest to us.

Who loves more perfectly than Jesus, the Friend who never forsakes you, the Spouse who is always devoted?   Who knows you better than your Father, who sees all your sin and yet stays with you to help you grow in holiness?

Think about God’s faithfulness today.   Recall how he led his people to the Promised Land despite their weak faith and episodes of disobedience.   Think about King David and how, despite his up-and-down faithfulness to the commandments, God never withdrew his blessing. Or think about how Jesus forgave Peter for denying him three times.   Fill your mind with stories like these, and you’ll see what faithful friendship looks like.   Let them teach you how to be a better friend — and how to welcome the love of the friends God has already given you.

Word Among Us

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