Never abandon a friend – either yours or you father’s. Then in your time of need, you won’t have to ask your relatives for assistance. It is better to go to a neighbor than to a relative who lives far away. (Proverbs 27:10)
Proverbs reflects the striking contrast between the ancient and the modern worlds with respect to the emphasis given to being a good friend and neighbor. The connotation of the Hebrew word used here for “friends” is “those who delight in one another’s companionship.” Either they are useful to one another because each possesses a gift, which the other does not have, or they are agreeable to one another because they have certain tastes in common. In this context, friendship usually implies a certain amount of goodness; for in and of itself, it is a virtue.
Clearly presented is the fact that true friendship involves honesty toward one another. To tell lies or to slander one’s friends or neighbors is a definite offense. Secondly, true friendship involves loyalty. Loyalty is the greatest evidence of real friendship — a genuine friend or caring neighbor is by your side through the good times and the bad. In fact, the acid test of real friendship is found in the day of adversity.
Solomon notes that friends are to edify and improve one another just as “iron sharpens iron.” (Proverbs 27:17). Further, friendships are to be maintained carefully: friendships are delicate and require ongoing care and if a friend or neighbor is wounded, one should waste no time for apology, explanation and reconciliation. Friends should be friends for life; one is to cultivate the love of his own friends as well as the friends of his father.
How many real friends do you have? Would they consider you a true friend, as well? What could you do to increase the quantity and quality of friendships you have? Do you have accountability in your life? How will your friends eulogize you someday?