What Friendship is Really About and Why It’s So Important
Earlier this week the topic of friendship came up in one of my other posts, then today the first reading at Mass from the book of Sirach brought me back to reflect on friendship, what it is, why we need it, and how it's part of God's plan for our own spiritual well-being.
What Friendship Really Is
“A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. Faithful friends are beyond price, no amount can balance their worth.”
~ Sirach 6:14-15
Part of becoming an adult is realizing what true friends really are. Most of us have been through the high school drama and figured out that not everyone you “know” is your friend. A friend is someone special to you, not just because you’ve known them for a long time or because you share mutual interests, but because you love each other. This filial love unites you and enables you to say or do things for the good of the other. What is good for your brother or sister, is good for you.
“No greater love has one than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends.”
Jesus is a pretty good model of a true friend. He didn’t just treat people nice, but He went out of His way to help His friends, giving all of Himself for their sake. How many of us make these kinds of sacrifices in our friendships?
Why Do We Need Friends?
We do not need friends to make us feel good about ourselves, although that can be an added benefit. The sole purpose of friendship—and really all of our meaningful relationships in life—are to help each other grow in holiness. We want what’s best for each other and through our words and actions we strive not just to receive, but to give of ourselves for the good of our friends. If you think of your friendships and relationships in this way, it will change your perspective—and also your life.
“Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; those who fear God will find them. Those who fear the Lord enjoy stable friendship, for as they are, so will their neighbors be.”
~ Sirach 6:16-17
As a man it’s my mission to make sure my family get’s to Heaven—that above everything else in their lives, even me, they should come to know, love, and serve Jesus Christ. That changes the way I live my role as husband and father. If I think of my wife as simply a source of my pleasure, I am dehumanizing her, turning her into an object. This is not good for her or for me. If I treat my children as my own personal little slaves, I prevent them from achieving their potential life.
Friendship: God’s Plan for Our Success
The Holy Trinity is a model of friendship, love, and community. The Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father, and the fruit of Their love is the Holy Spirit. It’s a triangle of love, of intimacy, of self-giving. As humans we are made in the “image and likeness” of God, so we too are meant to participate in this same sense of friendship, love, and community. On our own we are bound to fail. Without God, without friends, we fail to fulfill our purpose.
We are made to give and receive love. God has given us the gift of friendship not only so we can experience it’s benefits, but so that we can learn to give, to love as He does.