Have you noticed the prevalence of “my friend” of late? It seems that everyone is friends these days. Whether it's online, at a conference, or over a conversation, the greatest commendation someone can have is that they are “my friend.”
Tweets introduce an article as written by “my friend.” Emcees introduce speakers as “my friend.” Friends tell other friends about “my friend.” What does this mean? What does it mean for someone to be friends? Friends on Facebook? Friends who went to school together? People who are of approximately the same fame or social status and thus qualify as friends?
Talk of friendship, apart from true friendship, cheapens friendship. In an age where relationships proliferate and grow in breadth, while cheapening in depth, let's not forget these marks of true friendship:
- Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. (Exod 33:11)
- A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Prov 17:17)
- A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Prov 18:24)
- Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (Prov 27:6)
“Face to face.” “At all times.” “Sticks closer than a brother.” “Faithful wounds.” This is true friendship. Feel free to introduce people as your friend. But make sure they're truly a friend. A friend that loves at all times, like a brother, that is close enough to wound you and you know that he's doing it because he loves you. Job had “friends” too (yes, that's what the Bible calls them…), but they weren't this kind of friend.
Otherwise, our friends in a day of cheapening friendship may feel more like this: “Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend” (Prov 19:4).
“My friend.” It's not a job qualification, and it's not something you should say about everyone. Don't cheapen the word for your true friends by using it for those who aren't.
Yes, I know I'm stirring the pot. 🙂