To have friends, it is wise to first show friendliness according to the teaching of Solomon, a wealthy successful king (Proverbs 18:24). To spread his love around, Solomon married seven hundred wives and was known to have had three hundred concubines! What a life of love and sharing for him at that time! It is good when friends love at all times (Proverbs 17:17).
What about Job? The Lord restored Job’s fortune in chapter 42 after his confrontation with God and he had been reconciled with his friends. Even though Job was depressed, broken, and bereaved, his love for his friends surfaced. With daily evidence of restoration proceeding and previous possessions doubled, Job prayed for his friends who so lovingly came to him and showed him sympathy and rendered words of comfort. Do real friends stop loving us because of our problems? Did Job confront his problems with faith and scriptures? He did not stop loving God or people when tough problems overturned his life.
There are no greater expressions of love than those of Jesus in the book of John (chapter 15, verses 9-15). “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” Who can dispute God’s word? God commands us to love Him and to love each other!
Love never fails; love fulfills the law! Paul advised the Romans in chapter 12:9-13, that love must be sincere. He continued by telling us to hate what is evil and to cling to what is good. We are to be devoted to one another in love and honor one another above ourselves. With spiritual strength we are serving the Lord as we experience joy, hope and patience. With the agenda of God being endless, we are still expected to pray fervently and earnestly. Why do we sometimes distance ourselves from others and maybe even end the relationships? Are we placing our problems on the altar before God? He accepts us unconditionally; therefore all of our trust can abide in Him!
Sometimes we may underestimate the value of our friendships with people. We do not always realize how much they care for us. The impact of confusion, the inability to maintain faith and trust in God override our best decisions to show hospitality and to share with God’s people when they are in need as Paul also advised the Romans. Let us continue to pray for ourselves that God’s Spirit will consume our minds that we can live in harmony and peace with others using sober judgment. Remember love helps us to overcome evil with good!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.