Today is our fifth annual Family and Friends day at the Berryville church of Christ. We’re glad you’re here, whether you be family or friend! The Bible tells us both what is a family and what is a friend. I hope that you will take the time to study some of these things this week and consider God’s revelation regarding these roles.
What is a family? In the beginning God defined for us what constitutes a family. We read in Genesis 2:21-24, “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” At the minimum, a family is a husband and a wife. Into such a union children may then be born or adopted and extend the family. Eventually, however, the children will grow up and move out creating their own families. This then becomes the extended family. However it all ought to begin with one man and one woman.
There is an ongoing effort in our world today to redefine what we know as the family. We are told that a family can be anyone or anything that one loves. There are efforts to have same sex families. There are efforts to have families composed of man and beast. There are efforts to have families composed of multiple wives or husbands, or both! All of these efforts to redefine what God has defined as a family fail to meet God’s standard. God created the family to be composed of one man and one woman and that is God’s ideal. We ought not then apologize to the many who do not meet this standard if we are to speak as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11). Instead, let us glorify God for His great wisdom that He has given regarding the family and live according to His will in that regard. God’s way is always the best way.
What is a friend? Proverbs 17:17 declares, “A friend loves at all times….” A friend is someone who is there through thick and thin. He is someone who never gives up. He is someone upon whom you can always depend. A friend loves you whether you love him or not. There is not going to be a circumstance in which he will stop loving. That’s a true friend. Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This is the ultimate sacrifice that a friend will make for another friend to show the greatness of his love.
The world has also sought to redefine the term friend. Today, many define a friend as someone who always encourages me to do what I want regardless of the consequences. Many consider someone their friend only if he supports all of their choices and decisions whether right or wrong. The Bible, however, tells us a different story regarding friendship. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Those who would encourage us regardless of our choices are no true friends.
Some may also define friendship in terms of what another can purchase. In other words, one will be another’s friend so long as the gravy train doesn’t run out. Such “friendship” isn’t based upon loyalty or love, but upon selfishness and covetousness. The Bible says, “….every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts” (Proverbs 19:6). If every man is our friend, then we’ve really made no true friends at all. Our society today needs true friends, not the fickle favor of feckless frolickers. We need friends like are discussed in Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Friends ought to love us when we truly need to be loved, question us when we need to be questioned, and correct us when we need to be corrected whether we want them to or not.
Family or friend, God has given us instruction on what he expects out of these roles in our lives. Let us learn what God wants us to know and believe and make the appropriate application. Jesus said, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14). May God bless you as you seek to know and do His will.