A third skill that’s needed in friendship is loyalty. By the way, we’re progressively moving to a deeper level, and as we do it doesn’t get easier, it gets harder. Proverbs 17:17: A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity. This is a very simple but profound verse. Both lines say essentially the same thing in a different way. A true friend is one who loves us at all times, in every circumstance of life. There is a hint here that the true colors of friendship are seen in the midst of adversity. When our lives are falling apart a true friend will stand with us. Or when our friend has failed, we’ll be their to pick them up.
We have many examples of this kind of loyalty in Scripture. I think of how Jonathan was a friend for David in a time of need. He went out of his way to help when David was in danger of being killed by King Saul, who happened to be Jonathan’s father! I think of Barnabas who proved to be a friend to the apostle Paul after his conversion when the rest of the apostles were ready to turn him away. It’s not easy to be a friend like that and it’s not easy to find a friend like that. It means moving beyond friendship that’s rooted in enjoyment or convenience to one that’s rooted in the raw will to love. It requires tenacity to stay with someone when there isn’t anything left in it for you.