There are “friends” who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

~Proverbs 18:24, TLB


Friendship is the greatest of worldly goods.

~C.S. Lewis

I am not a fan of Solomon; he was a spoiled rich kid who wasted the later part of his life in folly. But I do admire his intelligence and his understanding of life in general. I do not want to follow his example but I can learn from his teaching. According to Solomon, friendship has at least four characteristics: [1] Fellowship…Proverbs 18:24, “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” C.S. Lewis believed that friendship is based on things we have in common. My friends are from the South, conservative politically and generally speaking, share my faith in Christ. It is not likely that I will become a close friend with a democrat or a Muslim because we have nothing is common. You may have a yankee friend, an Auburn {Bama} friend or a liberal friend but you are not likely to have one who is all three. Emotionally, we cannot overcome that many barriers. [2] Faithfulness…Proverbs 17:17, “A true friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” A friend walks in when everyone else walks out. A friend is someone who sticks with you when the chips are down; when you have nothing to give them other than your problems. [3] Sensitivity…Proverbs 25:20, “Being happy-go-lucky around a person whose heart is heavy is as bad as stealing his jacket in cold weather or rubbing salt in his wounds.” There is another verse, one I had not noticed before and it is Proverbs 27:14, “If you shout a pleasant greeting to a friend too early in the morning, he will count it as a curse!” You don’t call a friend at 4:00 am and wish them a happy birthday. The mark of friendship is sensitivity: it is knowing what to say and when to say it. If your friends heart is heavy, levity is out of place. A friend can feel the pain of a friend. There is an emotional bond that makes friends sympathetic. [4] Accountability…two verses come to mind: Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron,” and Proverbs 27:5-6, Open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a friend are better than kisses from an enemy! You desperately need at least one friend who will tell you the truth.

I met Hugh Fitzgerald 41 years ago. Hugh was 55 at the time and I was youthful 29 year old. From the get go, we had very lively conversations. Hugh didn’t beat around the bush, he told you exactly what he thought. We butted heads more than once but I learned to listen to his advice. I also came to realize that he was trying to help me, not hurt me. Next to my mother, he probably corrected me, and sometimes it was “open rebuke,” more than anyone. Hugh became my friend, my good friend. You need a friend who is not afraid to correct you or even to rebuke you. You will never improve as long as you are blind to your weakness. Have you every seen yourself on video and heard your voice coming from a recording. The sound you hear coming from the machine is totally different from the one you hear coming from your body. This is why others have to tell us the truth: “Brother Jack, you cannot sing.” When I am in the shower, I sound like Andrea Bocelli to myself but when I hear Jack coming from a recording, I sound like a dying bull in a hell storm. Years ago I heard a young girl attempt to sing: she was horrible. I heard someone behind me say to the person sitting beside them: “She must not have any friends.”

Enjoying the cool spell. I think we have some heat coming this weekend and I hope some rain with it. My corn fields need a rain. We got a project done yesterday thanks to the help of Joe David, Lori and Ty. It is always good to finish a job and get it off your mind. Looking forward to an easier day physically and maybe some quality study.

We are taking a leap of faith: we plan to go back outside on Wednesday nights. This gives our folks and option. Don’t know how they will respond. We will be in Romans on Sunday am and Wednesday night.

Hope you have a great day and thanks for reading the blog. I am trying to schedule a picnic here at 1120 for our Blog readers. We may do it on a Sunday night after church. We are going to do hot dogs and home made ice cream.

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