“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17
I was a little upset with a friend a few days ago. Do you know what terrible sin she committed? She didn’t agree with me, and she told me she didn’t. Now I certainly wasn’t furious. But I was hurt. I got defensive. I felt frustrated. I didn’t see why she couldn’t “get” my position. I don’t like conflict, and even this minor disagreement made me feel out of sorts for the rest of the day. Sunday of all days. How annoying.
This morning I remembered this verse and I got over myself. You see, the Bible tells us to love our friends at ALL times. Not just when they’re supporting us. Not just when they’re behaving the way we think they should. Not just when they follow our advice. Not just when they AGREE with us. So I wrote my friend a note. I still don’t agree with her, but I told her I cared about her and valued our friendship (I do). I told her I appreciated all that she does for me and our community (I do). I realized that loving each other doesn’t depend upon complete agreement.
Here’s the bigger lesson in all this. In John 15:15 Jesus says,
“No longer do I call you servants….but I have called you friends.”
Jesus is my friend, and he loves me at all times. Not just when I am being “good.” Not just when I’m paying attention to Him. Not just when I’m praying or praising Him, but all the time. I‘ll fall down and disappoint my friends. I’ll get annoyed and say angry words without thinking. I’ll be inconsistent and bull-headed. Jesus won’t do any of those things. He is my one constant, yesterday, today and forever. And He is my friend. How wonderful is that! What does He ask in return? Just this:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 12:34
What does this loving friendship look like?
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
If Jesus is my friend who loves me at all times, shouldn’t I try to be the same kind of friend to others?