Proverbs 17:17 New International Version (NIV) 17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. or A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. (NLT)
ESV - 17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
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I would say that, unfortunately, no matter how much you may like other people (or how much they may say they like you), or regardless of how well you may think you know them, it is not always possible under "everyday" conditions to distinguish degrees of true friendship or loyalty by those means alone, or before misfortune occurs. As indicated by the proverb, the test of a true friend is in actions or priorities, rather than mere verbal professions, and especially in times when you are experiencing adversity, and (even in addition to that) when it would cause people hardship or inconvenience to come to your aid. (In fact, it is possible for people to be unresponsive or make up excuses even when doing so causes them to miss out on something designed for their pleasure or benefit (as, for example, in Jesus' parable of the ungrateful banquet guests in Luke 14:15-24).) A true friend in the sense being spoken of will not be deterred by any of those factors, but will do whatever is necessary to render needed assistance.
As Christians we only have one true friend, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, who is forever loyal, faithful, devoted, loving, compassionate, caring, wise, powerful and courageous. He will never let us down. Jesus himself called us his friends (John 15:13-17). As human beings, our best friends should always be authentic Christians who are seeking to live a god-pleasing life every day. Why is this so important? We share a spiritual connection that we can’t have with unbelievers. We have the mind of Christ. We have the Holy Spirit guiding and empowering us. We are committed to living out all the friendship values listed in the book of Proverbs. However, a word of caution. Even the best of friends will disappoint us at some time in our lives. Why? Because we are all sinners. We all make mistakes. We all let each other down. That’s why we all need Jesus as our best friend. Plus, Jesus will lead us into the best friendships with other people that are perfectly suited for who we are and what we need from others. That’s his job to give us the abundantly fulfilling and deeply satisfying life that he promised.
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