Prov 18:24 (NIV) A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
John 15: 12-14 (NLT) I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And here is how to measure it-the greatest love is when people lay down their lives for their friends. You are my friends if you obey me. I no longer call you servants, because a master doesnt confide in his servants. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father has told me.
Friendship is such a precious thing in this world. Especially in these times when it seems like the prevailing attitude is to look out for your self first, and not to trust anyone. Sometimes it seems that even in a small town a person can become an anonymous figure and be quite lonely. That is why I believe that friendship is a great gift from God, perhaps one of the greatest gifts. And as B.L.s, we can certainly see how this is truly so. There have been some excellent posts recently about relationships shared by B.L.s and their young friends, some of them expressing concern about certain problems with thoughts or feelings. I would like to give some encouragement to these people and all of us here.
Even if we have no young friend in our lives, we still have friends. If we are a Christian, we have the greatest friend of all, Jesus Christ. I believe that is the message of Proverbs 18:24, ultimately. There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, and that friend is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the greatest example of friendship because He did exactly what He was talking about in John 15: 12-14; He lay down His life for His friends. He made the ultimate sacrifice for each of us individually; because He loves us each individually just like the best friend of your whole life. He is with us every second of every day, through all the bad times as well as the good. He is no fair weather friend. He does this because He loves us and to be the ultimate example for us to follow.
Here is something to always keep in mind with all of our friendships, whether with a young friend or an adult friend. Here is the best example for us to follow. Whenever we are in doubt about what to do or how to behave, we can always look at Jesus and just ask ourselves the old (but relevant) question, What would Jesus do?. I believe that a friend, especially a young friend, is a gift from God, a great gift. But the young friend is a gift with an added responsibility tag attached. Just as God has placed great responsibility in the hands of every parent regarding the proper upbringing and welfare of their children, how much more responsibility does he place on the head of the B.L. who befriends a young boy? That boy is a precious gift, something we certainly dont have to have; but something God has, in His infinite wisdom and love, given us for either a short or long period of time. He trusts us but it is up to us to live up to that trust. He will give us the strength we need to do so, and will always be with us every step of the way, so we can always have the hope that becomes great joy in our hearts.
May God truly bless each and every one of us in every friendship of our lives. Let us always remember what a huge gift every single friendship is and let us be especially careful and mindful of our relationships with young boys. May we always have the strength and presence of mind to think and do what we know our Lord Jesus would do in each and every situation. But when we fail, let us also know that He loves us as our ultimate friend and we are always free to come to Him to ask for forgiveness. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.