2 Samuel 9:1
“And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
The Scriptures say in Proverbs 18:24, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Saying that you are a friend doesn’t make you a friend, but being a friend is tested when a friend goes through difficult times in life. You will find that many people will say they are your friend when everything is going well, but you will find out who your true friends are when you are enduring the most difficult times in your life. Let me share with you several tests that reveal to you those who are your real friends.
First, a real friend is still a friend when the friend is dead. David’s friendship and promise to Jonathan did not die when Jonathan died, but he continued to be a friend even after his friend was gone. You are not a true friend if you forsake your promises and friendship to those who you called friends after they die. I will go further to say that how you treat the family of your friend after they are dead shows your depth of friendship. You will continue to be a friend and show kindness to your friend’s family even if your friend has gone to Heaven.
Second, a real friend is still a friend when others attack you. In 2 Samuel 15, David fled for his life from Absalom, and Hushai, David’s friend, came to help him in the battle. Riding the coattails of populism doesn’t make you a friend, but true friends stand with you in the foxholes of your battles. A true friend is never afraid to be shot at for your sake when you go through low times in your life. A person who flees because you become unpopular is a person who is not a true friend.
Third, a real friend is still a friend when you have betrayed them. Peter betrayed Christ, but Christ was still a friend to Peter. You have no clue of what a real friend is if a person has to treat you right all the time to be a friend. A true friend realizes that their friend will have a bad day or even some bad years, but they will continue to be your friend when you treat them badly. I often tell people that you don’t have to be my friend, or you don’t have to treat me friendly for me to be your friend. True friends understand that there will be times of disagreements, but you will still be their friend in spite of the sharpness of the disagreement.
Fourth, a real friend is willing to lay down their life for you. John 15:13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Let me explain that a real friend is willing to tell you when you are wrong, even if it means they must sacrifice everything. A true friend doesn’t condone the sin of a friend, but a true friend is willing to lay everything on the line to help their friend to stop doing what is wrong.
Fifth, a real friend is still a friend when you are at your worst. Jesus is always your friend no matter what you do to Him or to yourself. You will discover who your true friends are when you have not been at your best because a true friend is always there in the worst times of your life.
Let me ask you; are you a true friend to those around you? The key to having friends is to be a friend to others. Stop looking to be friends with those who are popular and start being a friend to those who are hitting the bottom of life, and you will find people who will be your friend. Friendship begins with you; not with the other person. You will find friends in life if you learn to be a real friend to those who need a friend.