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True Friendship, and a True Friend


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A man of too many friends comes to ruin,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

—Proverbs 18:24

The word friend, I’m afraid, has lost its meaning. People speak of almost any acquaintance with whom they are on cordial terms as “friends,” whether or not the word applies. This has been true since before the internet age, but Facebook has mangled the concept of friendship almost beyond restoration. But there is such a thing as true friendship, and we would do well to rediscover it. Of this true friendship, G. Campbell Morgan writes,

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The heart of man is forever craving friendship. Let every man beware of the crowd of acquaintances. Let every man value at the very highest the friend who is a true lover. It is a little difficult in June days to distinguish between the acquaintance and the friend. We have to wait for November and December. It is not easy to know your friends when the sea is smooth and reflects heaven’s blue. You will find them when the sky is overcast and Euroclydon* beats the deep into fury, and you are in peril. It is not quite easy to distinguish between acquaintances and friends in your days of prosperity. “A brother is born for adversity.” You discover him only then. Friendship is tested by tempest. May we not say that the difference between acquaintances and friends is the difference between reeds that grow by the river side and the rough, gnarled old oak stick when you are contemplating climbing hills. If I have a rough hill to climb give me one rugged old oak stick to lean on rather than a hundred reeds that grow in perpetual green by the river bank. If I have difficulty to fear and burdens to bear and tempests to weather, give me my friend—he might be very rough, a curious specimen of humanity, but he loves me and he sticks—rather than a hundred butterflies who are round me when the sun shines and are gone when storms lower.

—G. Campbell Morgan, The Westminster Pulpit (Sermon: My Friend) (Baker, 2006), 1:112.

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This is the kind of friendship we should seek. This is the kind of friend we should aspire to be. The only friend who perfectly fits the bill is, of course, Jesus our Lord. He calls his disciples “friends” (John 15:12–17), and has sealed that friendship with his blood.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

—John 15:13

* “A cyclonic tempestuous northeast wind which blows in the Mediterranean, mostly in autumn and winter.” —Wikipedia.



Posted 2017·07·21 by David Kjos
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Posted in: G Campbell Morgan · Westminster Pulpit

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