“There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24 (NLT)
The privilege of enjoying deep, meaningful friendships is one of the best things about life. Oftentimes, friends seem closer to us than our actual family members. We all desire purposeful connections with people who have our back.
At the same time, many of us have been stabbed in the back by people we thought were devoted friends. We may look back on those relational investments and regretfully discover they were more destructive than they were beneficial.
Galatians 5:15 warns us about destructive relationships when it says, “But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.” A bad betrayal by someone you love may have left you afraid to engage in new friendships. After all, if you never risk your heart, you never risk getting hurt again. Even though you may have had a painful experience in the past, God still has key people He designed for you to walk with in the future. Friendship was always a part of His plan.
Some of the best relationships I’ve had have come from a dynamic sociologists call comunitas, which differs from our standard definition of community. We generally define community as a fellowship with other people who share common interests or beliefs.
Comunitas, on the other hand, speaks of the profound relationship formed in the context of a challenge, task, or mission. This word describes teammates who play a season together or soldiers who experience the frontlines of war together.
Consider this story… During WWI, a soldier saw his best buddy get hit by enemy gunfire. Calling out to his commander, he asked: “Sir, my friend has been shot! Can I carry him back here?” His commander said, “No, it won’t do any good to lose you both.” The soldier disregarded his commander’s words and bolted out of the trenches to try and save his friend. He was able to retrieve him; however, in the process, they were both mortally wounded. When they got to safety, the commander was furious, shouting, “Now I lost both of you! It wasn’t worth it!” Yet, with his dying breath the young soldier whispered, “But it was worth it, sir, because when I got to my friend, he said, ‘Jim, I knew you would come.’”
That’s a beautiful picture of what sacrificial friendship, comunitas, looks like. I don’t know about you, but I want to cultivate friendships that are forged in the fire. For it’s in the fire where we find true friends who will stick closer than a brother.
- Do you have a friendship in your life that exemplifies comunitas?
- Today, set aside time to pray for your closest friends, the friends that stick closer than a brother.