A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)A friend means well, even when he hurts you. But when an enemy puts his arm around your shoulder – watch out! (Proverbs 27:6)
I can talk to stranger spontaneously from random topic to their personal life. There was time when I talked with an entrepreneur who openly shares with me about his journey as a successful businessman. Early in his career he said that most of his friends and even his own family didn’t support his business. During our conversation (mostly he does the talking), suddenly I remembered the words of ancient Hebrew philosopher, Joshua the son of Sirach which can conclude very well the story of this middle age entrepreneur’s experience. He writes:
“When things are going well, it is hard to tell who real friends are, but in hard times you can recognize your enemies; even your friends will leave you then. But when you are successful, your enemies will act like friends. Some people will be your friend as long as things are going well, but they will turn against you when troubles come.”
30 minutes later, he enthusiastically said to me that his business is growing up since he started to stayed away from ‘fault’ friends and start to focus on those few who is still continue to support his dream. At first I regret to initiate the conversation because he’s so open that I felt weird to know so much about a stranger than some of my own cousins’. But then I recalled what Joshua writes which is perfectly fits to describe this stranger’s real friends are;
“A real friend will help you against your enemies and protect you in the fight. Never forget such a companion in battle; share the results of your victory with him.”
I didn’t get his name but it was a great conversation. Real friend is hard to find. Anyone can claim to be your friend, but some people are friends in name only. I have hundreds of friend during my secondary school, hundreds more during my primary school and by the time I stop smoking, start to withdraw myself from consuming alcohol and received Christ as my personal Savior – I only have less than 30 friends left and few faithful ones stayed with me. Who are your real friends? Identify them. Treasure them. Appreciate them.
“Never abandon an old friend; you will never find a new one who can take his place. Friendship is like a wine; it gets better as it grow older.”
I’m very thankful that I have friends with me in whom I can trust. They are my treasure; nothing can take their place in my heart. They didn’t laugh when I share with them my dreams even how stupid it could be. They tell me when I did something wrong. They are closer than my brother and sister. They mourn with me in my failure and they celebrate with me during my victory.
Try to filter your friends list. Are they helping you to climb or want you to crawl? Did you become more positive when you’re with them? And for ourselves: What can you do now to become a better friend?