See if you agree with these definitions of a friend. Dictionary.com says a friend is “a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.” The Holman Bible Dictionary says a friend is “a close, trusting relationship between two people.” According to Facebook, a friend is someone you allow to view your personal page.

The Bible describes friendship by contrasting it with an enemy. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6). The Life Application Study Bible makes the following statement about this verse. “Who would prefer a friend’s wounds to an enemy’s kisses? Anyone who considers the source. A friend who has your best interests at heart may have to give you unpleasant advice, but you know it is for your own good. An enemy, by contrast, may whisper sweet words and send you on your way to ruin. A friend’s advice, no matter how painful, is much more valuable.”

Throughout my lifetime and even today, I am blessed with friends. My greatest friend, of course, is Jesus. He is a “friend of sinners” (Matthew 11:19). Being a sinner, I am eternally grateful for His friendship. Although I have not always lived up to my part of our friendship, He has never abandoned me.

Another dear friend of mine was Don Collins. While he has gone to his heavenly home, his memory still lives within me. Don and I ate lunch together almost every day. We attended ballgames together. We worshiped together. We cried together. Then I had the privilege of conducting his homegoing services.

I miss my friend. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think about him. He didn’t mind telling me “how the cow ate the cabbage” or praising me when I did something right. He fearlessly defended me and was loyal to a fault. Don wasn’t perfect, but he was a genuine friend. When people talk about who they want to see when they get to heaven, I tell them that after seeing Jesus, I want to see my friend, Don Collins.

Do you have a friend? The Bible says if we want friends, we first must be friendly (Proverbs 18:24). Invest yourself in someone today. In the end, you both will be blessed.

Allen Tilley is senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Carthage.

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