“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art. . . . It has not survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival” — C.S. Lewis
No matter what a guy may say, guys want the friendship and respect of other guys. I want the friendship and respect of other guys. Nobody wants to be looked down upon by their peers. Nobody wants to go through life alienated and alone.
Friendship gives value to survival. Have you ever felt that life seems like a matter of survival at times? I know that I have.
When I went away to college, I only knew 3 people at a university of 16,000 students. It was the first time I lived away from home and I was alone and I sought the company of other guys (and girls). I ended up where a lot of (non-Christian) college guys go, fraternity rush parties. As a result, my closest friends were those in the fraternity that I joined, and many are still friends today.
But, according to Solomon, just having a group of close friends isn’t enough.
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer (real friend more loyal) than a brother.” — Proverbs 18:24 NIV (NCV)
I have to believe that Solomon learned some great life lessons from his father, David and we probably know more about David’s entire life than most any other person in the Bible. But, beyond all of the lessons we can learn from David’s reign as king, it was the time prior to him taking the throne that we can learn the most in regards to true friendship.
Jonathan and David
Jonathan, King Saul’s oldest son, was a warrior and a man of faith. He believed that anything was possible if God willed it. Heavily outmanned, Jonathan and his young armor bearer attacked one of the Philistine outposts and defeated them. The Lord honored his faith and led Jonathan on a rout of Israel’s enemy.
Sometime later, the giant Goliath led a Philistine force against King Saul’s army. He offered a challenge to any Hebrew warrior willing to take him on in hand-to-hand combat. David, just a shepherd boy at the time, stepped up to the challenge. With faith in the Lord, David slayed the giant and became a fierce warrior.
Immediately following the battle, “After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond of love between them (became one in spirit), and they became the best of friends (loved him as himself).” 1 Samuel 18:1 NLT (NIV)
They instantly formed a bond through their mutual respect of each other as warriors and their devoted faith in the Lord. From that moment on, the friendship that Jonathan and David shared was deep, meaningful and unique, especially in today’s world. It would be rare to find a couple of (heterosexual) guys today who would openly say that they “loved” another man, but that is the sort of relationship that Jonathan and David had.
Following Jonathan’s death, David wrote, “How I weep for you, my brother Jonathan! Oh, how much I loved you! And your love for me was deep, deeper than the love of women!” — 2 Samuel 1:26
America’s leading psychologists and therapists estimate that only 10 percent of all men ever have any real friends, according to Alan Loy McGinnis, author of The Friendship Factor.
“Men’s friendships typically center around activities, while women’s revolve around sharing. Men do not reveal their feelings or weaknesses as readily as women. They gear themselves for the marketplace, and typically understand friendships as acquaintances made along the way, rather than as relationships. Also, men fear being suspected of deviant behavior if they have an obviously close friendship with another man. Tragically, those who think this way will never be all God wants them to be.”
— R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Man