I recently read a portion of Lewis’s The Four Loves. He had several pithy thoughts on friendship (as he does on every subject he writes about). I found them to be insightful. Here is a compilation of the ideas that I enjoyed.
Few value [friendship] because few experience it.
Friendship is—in a sense not at all derogatory to it—the least natural of loves; the least instinctive, organic, biological, gregarious and necessary. It has least commerce with our nerves; there is nothing throaty about it; nothing that quickens the pulse or turn you red and pale. It is essentially between individuals; the moment two men are friends they have in some degree drawn apart from the herd. Without Eros none of us would have been begotten and with Affection none of us would have been reared; but we can live and breed without Friendship. The species, biologically considered, has no need of it.
Lamb says somewhere that if, of three friends (A, B, and C), A should die, then B loses not only A but “A’s” part in “C,” while C loses not only A but “A’s part in B.” In each of my friends there is something that only some other friends can fully bring out.
Hence we pictures lovers face to face but Friends side by side; their eyes look ahead.
That is why those pathetic people who simply “want friends” can never make any. The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. Where the truthful answer to the question Do you see the same truth? would be “I see nothing and I don’t care about the truth; I only want a Friend,” no Friendship can arise—though Affection of course may. There would be nothing for Friendship to be about; and Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travelers.
Probably one of the insights that I enjoyed most from Lewis was this one:
The mark of perfect Friendship is not that help will be given when a pinch comes (of course it will) but that, having been given, it makes no difference at all.
In light of these, are we really a Friend to someone? If so, what kind of Friend are we? More importantly, these quotes brought to mind some striking passages from Scripture on the topic of friendship.
Exodus 33:11 (ESV) Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
Proverbs 18:24 (ESV) A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
John 15:14 (ESV) You are my friends if you do what I command you.
James 2:23 (ESV) and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”— and he was called a friend of God.
The passage in James perhaps being the most important of those listed. The faith that leads the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ being imputed to us places us in a right standing with God. The relationship that was broken by our sin is restored–by faith alone in Christ alone. It is only after being clothed in the righteousness of God that we can be called a friend of God. What a blessed thought.