I said I’d be back with more about friendship, this time: Biblical. The Bible reveals we were created to be relational beings. So what does that mean? Easy (sort of). It is not emotionally or spiritually healthy for us to be isolated—we need others. What follows are some of the most beautiful and encouraging examples of friendship found in the Bible:
Naomi and Ruth—Following the death of Naomi’s husband and sons, her widowed daughter-in-law determined to leave behind her family to accompany Naomi back to her homeland. Though Naomi urged Ruth to return to her own people, with these words, the younger woman refused: “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” Out of her commitment to Naomi, Ruth met and married Boaz, they had a son, and thereby sealed the lineage of Jesus.
Mary and Elizabeth—After discovering she carried the Messiah, Mary traveled to Elizabeth’s home and remained there for three months. Doubtless, Elizabeth served as a mentor, offering faith and reassurance for the daunting path ahead of Mary.
David and Jonathan—There were plenty of opportunities for these men to be jealous of each other—Jonathan being the king’s son, yet David appointed as heir to the throne—but their relationship was one of love, kindness, and support.
Jesus and His Disciples—Jesus spent time in prayer before he selected the twelve disciples who became his closest friends. He traveled and ministered with them, setting the example for us to pray together, eat together, and experience the good and bad of life together. It was Peter, James, and John he specifically asked to stay close to him when they were in the Garden of Gethsemane, anticipating his death. Jesus asked them to remain awake and to pray, his plea revealing his full humanity and need for companionship in his darkest hour.
Barnabas and Saul (Paul)—When the Christians in Jerusalem rejected the newly converted Saul of Tarsus, Barnabas acted as his advocate, bringing Saul into the Christian movement with the apparent assurance he would be responsible for him.
Paul and Timothy—As the older, wiser mentor in Timothy’s life, Paul prepared the young leader to handle the church at Ephesus and provided encouragement and strength for the journey. Doubtless, Timothy was a blessing to Paul as well, allowing the older man the joy of passing along life lessons and seeing them realized.
Nice snippet, hmm? Next time: Healthy Friendships