What God Says About Friendship
“It is not good for man to be alone” — Genesis 2:18
If this season of my life has taught me anything, it taught me about the power of relationships. Collectively, we have just come out of an intense period of isolation and separation, unlike anything we have ever experienced before. And in those moments of isolation, I think many of us, myself included, learned how very true it is that it is not good for man to be alone.
If you are a Lord of the Rings fan like me, you may have binged the trilogy multiple times since its debut in 2001. And if you’re one of the few people unfamiliar with Lord of the Rings, bear with me; you don’t need to be a fan to understand the point. In the second installment [Two Towers], we are introduced to Eowyn, a character experiencing extreme isolation and loneliness while surrounded by the enemy. When one of those enemy figures tries to speak to her, she tells them to leave her alone. His response to this has always lingered in my brain,
“Oh, but you are alone. Who knows what you have spoken to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all your life seems to shrink, the walls of your bower closing in about you, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in?”
Whether you’re a fan of the series or not, I think we can all see a bit of ourselves in this statement. How often in our periods of loneliness has the enemy tried to poison our minds with lies, doubts, and fears? I know for me, the isolation of the pandemic shutdowns left me feeling more alone, lost, and afraid than I had ever felt before.
And in those moments when the panic and fear began to set in, it was my Christ-centered friendships that helped to pull me from the brink. Friends and loved ones who spoke truth into my life helped guide my weary mind when I felt too tired to carry on. Because at the end of the day, it is not good for man to be alone. There is power in community, a power that the enemy cannot destroy.
Some of the most prominent and powerful examples of friendship in the Bible are seen in the life of David. Two relationships, in particular, show us some very different but equally important aspects of friendship.
In 1 Samuel 18:1, we are told that “Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” This, to me, is one of the most beautiful examples of friendship found in the Bible.
David and Jonathan’s friendship wasn’t easy; in fact, it was rife with obstacles. Yet they selflessly and faithfully loved one another. In the end, Jonathan tragically died in battle, leaving behind a young son. In that moment, in the midst of his own grief and pain, David showed up and raised Jonathan’s son in his own palace. To me, this is one of the most important lessons on friendship that we learn from David: friends show up when you need them.
Developing solid friendships provides support during life’s hardest moments. While sometimes you may be the friend showing up, other times you’ll be the friend who needs help. If this past year has shown us anything, it’s that difficult periods in life are unavoidable, but genuine friendships help us weather the storms.
Secondly, friends speak truth into our lives. Many of us are familiar with the story of David and Bathsheba, but we may be less familiar with the friendship between David and Nathan. After David had illicit relations with Bathsheba and caused the death of her husband, Uriah, to try and cover his mistakes, Nathan spoke truth into David’s life about the wrong he had committed against God. In 2 Samuel, Nathan confronts David with a parable to help him recognize the terrible sin he had committed. In this example, we see another element of true friendship, especially the importance of having Christ-centered ones.
Because at the end of the day, we are sinful creatures who can be very good at convincing ourselves that we aren’t actually doing anything wrong, just like David with Bathsheba. But when we have friends in our lives who can speak truth to us, we point each other back to Christ.
In the very beginning, God stated it is not good for man to be alone, and in these uncertain times, Christ-centered relationships are a part of our walk we can’t afford to ignore.
If you’ve found yourself facing life alone and are seeking connections to Christ-centered friendships, check out Life Groups at woodsidebible.org/groups. We can’t wait to do life with you.