Editorial Note: The following article appeared in our bulletin years ago. It was sent to me several weeks ago by a friend who found it helpful.
"A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity" (Proverbs 17:17).
None of us have so many friends that we can afford to lose even one needlessly. What shall we do when our friends, our brothers and sisters in the grace of God, fall into sin? What shall we do when they behave peevishly? What shall we do when they get upset with us and say and do things in anger that hurt, offend, and separate?
What shall we do? Always keep the door open for them to return. "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." A friend loves, even when he receives no love in return. A brother is loyal even when adversity strains his relationship with his brother. A friend always keeps the door open for his friend. A brother always keeps the door open for a brother.
Recently, I saw a man whom I esteem to be both my brother and my friend. Several years ago, he wrote me a couple of sharp letters and requested not to hear from me again. We have not corresponded or seen one another since until recently, much to my sorrow. When I saw him, I picked him out of the crowd, greeted him with a warm hug, and tried to bring him into the door of fellowship in Christ with me, not by reminding him of differences, but by warm, pleasant conversation. He may not miss my fellowship, but I miss his and need it. I pray that the Lord will unite us again. If he gives me grace, I intend to keep the door open, so that my friend and brother can walk through it at anytime. Apologies are neither needed nor wanted—just my friend!
I have another friend who has been miffed with me for months. Why? I have absolutely no idea! He persistently resists every effort to break down the barrier he has built. But I cannot afford to lose him. God helping me, I intend to keep the door open, so that when my friend gets the adversities of his life in perspective he can walk though it.—I need him! He is my brother and friend.
Perhaps these personal illustrations will help you to keep the door open for your friends. When they transgress, cover their transgressions. "He that covereth a transgression seeketh love." When they offend, forgive them. When they fall, help them up. When they need you, be there! Always keep the door open. "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”