"A friend loves at all times and a brother (or sister) is born for adversity." (Proverbs 17:17)
So few of these kinds of relationships seem to exist in the world, even within churches. People like to get together and have casual fun, but walk (or run) away if a situation or friendship gets too difficult or might cost us too much. I wonder if many of us have lost sense of what true friendship is meant to be.
How might this Proverb come alive again in the life of the church?
"And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God," — like Proverbs 17:17 — "righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'" (1 Corinthians 1:30–31)
These thirteen words of wisdom in Proverbs are fulfilled and personified in the crucified Friend of sinners. Maybe we would begin building these types of friendships if we were able to see each other and our relationships through the lens of Christ. Before we could ever be a good friend, we had to be rescued from our sin. The perfect friend and brother, Jesus Christ, had to save us before we could even begin to love others like he loved us. We become blood relatives of sorts — blood-bought family — through the death and resurrection of this perfect friend and brother.
The family of God runs deeper than our physical families because we are connected not simply by the blood pumping through our veins, but by the blood of Christ spilled on the cross.
Perfect Love Personified
We need to begin defining true friendship and brotherly love not by conforming to cultural expectations, but by looking at the face of Jesus and being changed to look and love more like him (2 Corinthians 3:18). When we look at Jesus, we find a friend who loves when we are unlovable, and a brother willing to die for us, even when we didn’t deserve it. We find and experience a love utterly unlike what we normally find in ourselves, in our own hearts.