The Blessing of a Good Friend
Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.
In our support group, I sometimes ask a newcomer if they have any close male friends. In most cases, the answer is “no.” The church is riddled with lonely men who are trying desperately to make it on their own. It’s not working. If we want to see the body of Christ transformed into an army of strong men of character, the walls of isolation must come down.
For many men, the idea of sharing their guts with another is intimidating. “Better to make it on my own than risk rejection or open rebuke,” they think. Others take the low road of pride. “I don’t need a support group; I’m strong enough to take care of this.” But the carnage of their life proves otherwise.
Many never had a healthy male relationship modeled for them; their fathers were distant, passive, absent, or abusive. Since sharing their heart with another man didn’t happen during childhood, getting them to open up can be like trying to coax a frightened (or angry) animal out of a corner.
But friendship is one of God’s greatest blessings. Without another to talk to, we’re like a can of soda that’s been shaken, waiting to explode. Opening up to a trusted friend releases stress, gives clarity where once there was confusion, and provides new perspective.
The Lord commands us to “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). What is the “law of Christ”? In John 13:34, Jesus told His disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” When we’re struggling, the support, encouragement, and love of our friends is wind in our sails. We’re not strong enough to face the headwinds of life alone; with our friends, we can press through.
We need other men around us who we can bounce key decisions and plans off of (Proverbs 15:22). We also need their prayers. In James 5:16, we are told to “pray for one another so that we may be healed” and that “the prayer of (one) righteous man can accomplish much.” In my life, I’ve seen God move many times through prayer alone. All that is required is the humility to admit our need and ask for prayer.
Every man craves a David–Jonathan relationship, one in which he can share his struggles, victories, and defeats with—even his tears. I have been privileged with several D–J relationships in my life, and God has used them to help me through many a battle.
Whether it’s with a support group or just meeting one man for a meal every week, the benefits of friendship are enormous. Don’t let fear or pride keep you from one of God’s greatest blessings.
Excerpted from Mike Genung’s book, 100 Days on The Road to Grace, A Devotional for the Sexually Broken
Image Copyright : Mark Bowden