True Friends

As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.
1 Samuel 18:1-4

Two boys collected a bucket of nuts underneath a great tree inside a cemetery on the outskirts of town. When the bucket was full, they sat down out of sight to divide the spoils.

“One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me,” said one boy, as the other watched intently. Their bucket was so full that some of the nuts had spilled out and rolled toward the fence.

It was dusk, and another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery. He slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he heard, “One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me.”

The boy with the bike knew just what was happening, and his face went ghostly white. “Oh my,” he shuddered. “It’s Satan and the Lord dividing souls at the cemetery!”

He jumped back on his bike and rode off, desperately looking for a friend. Just around the bend he met an old, scowling man who hobbled along with a cane.

“Come with me, quick!” said the boy. “You won’t believe what I heard! Satan and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls!”

The man said, “Beat it, kid, can’t you see it’s hard for me to walk?” When the boy insisted, though, the man hobbled to the cemetery. When they arrived at the fence, they heard, “One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me.”

Ready to have a little fun, the old man whispered, “Boy, you’ve been tellin’ the truth. Let’s go inside, and see if we can see the Devil himself!”

The child was horrified, but the old man was already taking his first step toward the gate. Then they heard, “Okay, that’s the last of them. That’s all. Now let’s go get those two nuts by the fence, and we’ll be done.” They say the old guy made it back to town five minutes ahead of the boy! More than likely, he was looking for a friend.

Most people are constantly looking for friends. Some people are desperately looking for friendship. At times we all stand frozen with fear by the cemetery fence, so to speak, when life shakes us to the core. At times the legs don’t support, and a healthy heart nearly breaks. At times we can barely muster a prayer, and when it comes out, it’s a plea for a friend.
Friends can be a wonderful blessing. A source of comfort in times good and bad and a source of good counsel when we need advice or a sympathetic ear. It is not always easy to know who our true friends are.  Sometimes a true friend tells you what you don’t want to hear, and sometimes a false friend tells you what you do want to hear.  

A true friend will always tell you the truth, even when it might hurt, but they know that the truth is what is best because it is what you need to hear.  We need true friends, who when hearing the gospel of Christ will tell you the full gospel as preached by Christ and His apostles.  A true friend will not just tell you what is popularly believed, or what may appeal to your sensitivities.  We need true friends, who when we are growing in grace will tell us of the need to grow, and the danger of abandoning our beliefs.  As gay men and women, this is especially important.  We often find ourselves rejected from our church, but the true relationship we have with God is personal, and an organization of men cannot take that away.

We should always appreciate the value of true friends.  On the other hand,  false friends often tell us what we want to hear, not what we need to hear.  False friends tend to have ulterior motives and they may lead us in the wrong direction.   Many people have been led astray by the wrong kind of friends. Good habits can be corrupted by bad company and immature Christians have been tossed around by cunning and deceitful teachers.  And when we most need them, a false friend is nowhere to be found, but a true friend is by your side.  I often see this with homophobic people.  Instead of reading the bible for themselves, they allow others to tell them what it means.

The greatest true friend we will always have is Jesus, and if you are lucky (and I count myself as very lucky), I have a number of true friends who love and care for me.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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