"Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy." ---Proverbs 27:6
Maybe I should become a hermit! But what a wonderful wise statement to get us thinking about relationships. So often we are content walking around with surface-level relationships so that we don't get hurt. We are content with not truly caring about others or investing in their lives. In turn, we have to be content with not being cared about.
Personally, I'm sick of the pleasantries and fake relationships. I want to have relationships that run deep and are true. I think everyone should have a friend who challenges them, enjoys being around them, and truly cares about them. We see in the book of Job that friends don't always know how to help us. David had a friend betray him (Psalm 55:12&13). Sometimes even a true friend will make a mistake that hurts us, or will tell us something that is tough to hear, but it will be completely worth it in the end.
Another proverb says "a friend loves at all times" (Prov. 17:17). It's quite the standard to live up to for those of us who are trying to be a true friend to others. Jesus pushed friendship to an even higher standard when He said, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Yikes! Jesus is saying that He is the example of ultimate love. He was willing to (and did) die for us and we should be willing to do the same for others and for Him. We will likely never need to show our love by dying for someone, but we can show sacrificial love. And THAT'S what true friends do. They love expecting nothing in return. They listen, help, encourage, and give.
As a believer, I feel like this may be what the Church is supposed to look like. If we were showing genuine love for one another and loving sacrificially, those outside would see it! But how do we get there? It starts with YOU AND ME. If one person is genuinely loving others, it rubs off on many others around and spreads like wildfire. It causes bonds to form and love for Christ to abound. I pray that all of us learn to love like Christ to give Him the glory He deserves.