Articles on Friendship might not be very common, but the matter is one of the commonest in the entire world from history to date. However, according to the word of a young man named Elihu, an Israeli, noted that, “I said, `Age should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom…Great men are not always wise, nor do the aged always understand justice.” (Reference, Book of Job 32:7-9); I am therefore of the opinion that the age of the word friendship notwithstanding, there could be a need for more understanding of the common term – perhaps, the improved understanding could revive some dead relationships and pour cool water of refreshment on the faintly ones.
I had a couple of experiences in the past few days, which are pivotal tools in the hand of my King and LORD in preparing me for this important piece. The first happened while I was speaking with my wife concerning my recent thoughts about children (especially infants) and their parents. I observed that every child usually begin from high scales (let say 5.0 like a College G.P.A points) with the parents on love, trust and respect. That is, when a child begins to recognize the parents, his or her love, trust and respect is at the highest. As the child grows, based on the actions and inactions of the parents, the love, trust and respect drops from 5.0, which is the highest. I noted that, while the scale could drop very easily; it hardly increases; and when it thus increase, it does so at an arithmetic progression.
The implication is apparent, because many parents have lost the complete love, trust and respect of their children, which has had negative multiplier effects on the social fabrics of our societies through the actions and inactions of their parents over the years. However, when I asked my wife (Adedeji Omolara) about her thoughts on couples, she noted that it is the opposite. That is, couples usually begin at the lowest level of love, trust and respect, but as they journey along in marriage; through their actions and inactions, their relationships progress either arithmetically or geometrically – depending on the nature or degree of their actions and inactions.
Moving on from that, I had the final experience when I was analyzing my wife’s friends and trying to categorize them. I asked her about mine, which she noted that my friends are very few (maybe she meant now), and felt that they are also in groups or clusters and in each group; she could only mention the group-leaders. I therefore believe that the title of this article is a product of the three recent experiences.
A pyramid is a large building with a square or rectangular base and sloping sides that meet in a point at the top. According to the dictionary, a friend is a person you know well and like, and who is usually not a member of your family. If we combine the two words, it implies that your friends could be many at the base (of your life, education, career, business, marriage, ambition, or ministry); but few as you go up in the ladder. It could also implies that your friends are in groups and are largest at the lowest level of commitment and sacrifice; and fewest at the highest level of commitment and sacrifice.
However, I will suggest that the fact that a person is at the base of your relationship ladder does not disqualify him or her from being your friend; but if you could proactively understand the level of each of your friends; first, it will reduce your disappointments, discouragements and deceptions. Secondly, it will help you to examine and discover the missing factor (out of love, trust and respect) or the present factor. Truly, every relationship (either between God and man or man and other man) is a work-in-progress, which must be worked out for establishment, progress and growth.
I am of the opinion that no man is destined to be your permanent weak friend or strong enemy; but with understanding (examination of facts, realities and good inner discernment) and more sacrifice; any human-human or human-God relationship can be improved and even revived.
The pyramid of friendship therefore consists of:
- Friend; (E.g. “He is just a friend.”)
- Brother or Sister; (E.g. “She is like a sister to me.”)
- Brother-friend or Sister-friend; (E.g. “He is more than a friend, but also a brother.”)
- Covenant Friend. (E.g. “She is my covenant friend.”)
“A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (NAS - Proverbs 18:24)
From that Scriptures, there is a caution and information for us. In addition, the Bible passage also acknowledges the first base of friendship, which thrives on figures and statistics. But beyond the first layer of friendship is a Brother or Sister, because the Bible says that there are truly friends who stick more to your life than your family members (brothers and sisters). Therefore, such a friend is more than a friend, but a bother. While concluding that, we must not forget that in the book of Proverbs, we understand that riches attract friends; however, some friends are not around your life because of your money; but because they are your brothers and sisters.
“A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity” (AMP – Proverbs 17:17)
If I may ask, how many people around your life now can remain with you through your troubles? Very few! Therefore, the few are no more just friends, but brother-friends or sister-friends. Indeed, the ladder of friendship is the steps of commitment and sacrifice.
“A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” (AMP – Proverbs 16:28)
Like Paul (the Legendary Writer and Church Leader) said, “What shall separate us from the love of Christ, is it…..?” Close friends are supposed to be close, but when a whisperer can enter into their relationship to scatter them; then we must ask if they were really close as claimed. Covenant friends cannot be separated by any man or woman or even authority.
“So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “Let the LORD require it at the hand of David’s enemies.” (NKJV - 1 Samuel 20:16)
“So Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you yourself desire, I will do it for you.” (NKJV - 1 Samuel 20:4)
Honestly, you may not have many people at this level of friendship in your life-time – the reason not far-fetched; this level requires the highest level of sacrifice, commitment and responsibility; and only few will ever be willing to enter such realm or circle with you. If I may, not marriages end up in this circle, despite the marriage covenant during their wedding ceremonies or events. Just as the name suggests – ceremonies; they usually does go beyond mere ceremonial commitments, responsibilities and sacrifices. However, the best marriages that are enjoying maximum mutual love, trust and respect are driven by a great sense of responsibility, commitment, and sacrifice. The couples are not consumed by SELF-DESIRES; but by an unending passion to satisfy the desires and aspirations of the partners. Indeed, the best marriages are best covenant friends.
If you got something from this “short” piece, do well to use it as a mirror under the leadership of the Holy Spirit to examine your relationships and marriage – if married! Thank you very much for this gift of your time! You could also drop comments if you have any. Bye!