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From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:
A man who has friends must himself be friendly. Prov. 18:24 (NKJV)
Friend. It’s a term that sometimes we use a bit loosely. We may, in casual conversation after meeting someone, even go so far as to call them a friend, or to say “Well, my friend, have a good afternoon.” When we use the term that loosely, though, it can lose some of its specialness, just as if we misuse and cheapen the meaning of the world love. The word “friend” is one that perhaps we should cherish more than we do.
I have friends. And I love my friends. As I hope does everyone, I have a best friend. I can’t begin to tell you how precious that friendship is to me. The word “friend” doesn’t seem to be enough to describe it. But since I’m not a great linguist, it’ll have to do by adding the adjective “best” in front of it.
Friends should be very special to us. Before the white Europeans arrived on the shores of North America, the American Indians had no written language. Their language, though, was not primitive in the least. Many of the Indians had as many words in their language as their English and French explorers had in theirs. Some of their words were much more picturesque and carried great images along with them. For example, the English word “friend” to the Indians was “one-who-carries-my-sorrows-on-his-back.”
I like this Indian “definition” because it not only tells me what a friend is, but what a friend does. The friend is a person, but they are more than an acquaintance. They carry my sorrows on their back, and hopefully, as I wend my way through this life, I can carry theirs on my back, too.
How are your friendships? Are you wanting people to be a friend to you, but you’re not willing to carry their sorrows in return? I’m reminded of Jesus calling his disciples “friends”. At his trial and beatings, they didn’t carry his sorrows on their back – they were to preoccupied with their own. But later they did carry his sorrows – by taking up his cross daily and following him. I want more than anything to be Jesus’ friend. And I need him, more than anything, to be mine. When I carry the concerns of Christ for this desperate world, I am carrying his sorrows on my back, even as he bore mine.
PRAYER: May we all come to know You better as we could have no better Friend! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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