We all long to have great friends. We want to know that we are part of something worthwhile with people who believe in us, support us and share life with us. The big challenge is recognizing who these people are. Without saying it, we are all asking, “What does a great friend look like?” We can turn to examples of friendship in the Bible for inspiration.
Jonathan And David: True Friendship In The Bible
1 Samuel 19:1-7 gives us a snapshot into one of the greatest friendships in the Bible. Jonathan is the King’s son who, by all rights, ought to be the heir to the throne. David is the local hero who was declared by the prophet to be the next King of Israel. Based on this, the two should not have been trusting comrades. Jonathan should have been wary and suspicious of David. David ought to have been on guard against Jonathan.
Instead, they formed an epic alliance based on true friendship. What was it about this friendship that made it work so well and what is it about great friends that draws us to trust them? Here are three aspects of Jonathan and David’s friendship that we can use to shine a light on our own connections.
1. Friends Like Us
”’But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David” (1 Samuel 19:1)
Every one of us is highly talented and, at the same time, inconveniently quirky. As a result, some people like to be around us while others find us uninteresting or intolerable. Our great friends like to be around us, find us fascinating and enjoy our company.
2. Friends Speak Well Of Us
”Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father…” (1 Samuel 19:4)
We all thrive on encouragement and we trust those who say good things about us. Jonathan saw David as a winner and a loyal member of his dad’s kingdom. He enthusiastically reminded his father of how much he had benefited from David’s involvement. Now the stakes might not always be so high as with this example of friendship in the Bible, but in the same way, the people who recognize your value and talk up your strengths will gain a trusted place in your heart.
3. Friends Defend Our Reputation
“Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly.” (1 Samuel 19:4)
Since we live in a greedy, competitive world, others will unjustly criticize us – or worse. Sometimes the criticism is well-founded, but other times it is simply driven by jealousy or ignorance. Jonathan was loyal to his dad but he knew his assessment of David was incorrect, so he stood up for his friend, and he warned him of what was coming. Jonathan told David, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning.” (1 Samuel 19:2)
Our friends will defend us when they hear others speaking ill of us. They will stand by us when we face unfair circumstances and will challenge the untrue conclusions others have made about us. They know we are not perfect, but they believe we are better than the negative statements others make. And, if they’re our true BFFs, they’ll give us a chance to stand up fr ourselves, too.
Has this example of friendship in the Bible made you think of anyone in particular? Who in your life genuinely likes you, speaks well of you and defends your reputation? Send each of them a note (text, email or handwritten) thanking them for being great friends in your life. Then, take time to consider whether you’ve lived up to these examples of true friendship in return.
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