Friendship is among the precious gifts God gave to man. Human beings are empty without friends. After creation God discovered that, “It is not good for a man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18).” Man is therefore a social being. He cannot exist or develop in isolation. In fact, a tree cannot make a forest! The book of Sirach 6:14-15 declares, “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter: he that finds one finds a treasure. There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend.” True Friendship is indeed an inexhaustible treasure, only the lucky and righteous ones can find one.
July 30th is International friendship day. It is a day set aside to celebrate and to reflect on the importance of friendship. It is also a day for fostering of friendship between different peoples, cultures, and countries in order to establish peace throughout the world. To mark this year’s International friendship day we shall reflect on 10 essential principles of friendship.
1. The choice for Friendship requires Care: It is not something one should enter anyhow or with anybody. Light and darkness has nothing in common. That is why the author of the book of proverbs 12:26 declares, “The righteous ones choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” If you rush into friendship without proper discernment you may end up rushing out of it.

2. Friendship demands Sacrifice: Jesus told his followers, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). Our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated what a true friendship requires. He is the best friend the world has ever known. He demonstrated his friendship by dying on the Cross for the sake of those he love. Though it may be difficult but a true friend must be ready to make such sacrifice for his friend.

3. A True Friend Must be Reliable: The worst thing that can happen to anybody is to have a friend who is not reliable. The book of Proverbs 18:24 declares “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” An unreliable friend is as dangerous as a green snake in a green grass. You may not even know that you are dealing with an unfriendly friend. A true friend, on the other hand, must be trustworthy and reliable. In choosing a friend one has to ensure that his or her friend is reliable.

4. Bad Friends are dangerous: Nothing is as dangerous as to keep a bad friend. A bad friend can get one into trouble. As St. Paul rightly declares, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Bad friends can easily corrupt one’s moral fiber. They are so dangerous that they can even destroy one’s life. Child of God, you don’t need a bad! You don’t even need to associate with them. The earlier you disassociate yourself from bad friends the better. May God deliver you from the company of bad friends – in Jesus name – Amen!
5. Avoid Hot Tempered Friends: A hot-tempered person is one who easily gets annoyed. Most of them are easily provoked and they are ever ready to fight. The author of the book of proverbs chapter 22:24-255 declares, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one who is easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.” Playing with hot-tempered person is like playing with fire – both are dangerous! Hot-tempered person can even destroy life. For the sake of peace, try to keep them at alms length. Get rid of them, if possible!

6. Associate with Wise Friends: A wise friend is a real treasure. Association with wise persons is association with wisdom. That is why the author of the book of Proverbs 13:20 declares “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Indeed birds of the a same feather flocks together. If you are wise you will naturally want to associate with your fellow wise ones. Fools associate with their fellow foolish ones and they can easily harm themselves. The more you associate with wise friends the wiser you will become. If you associate with wise friends your life is secured.

7. Avoid Worldly Friends : Worldly friends are those who live wayward lives. They are those who commit all kinds of atrocities. They do not even have the fear of the Lord. Nothing good comes from worldly friends. The book of James 4:4 declares “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” Worldly friends are those who swim in the ocean of immorality. They are those friends you find in bar and club centers. They lavish their wealth in smoking and alcohol. For them, heaven and hell is in this present world. But that is not true! Most worldly friends die miserable deaths. They are those who have secured their place in hellfire. May God deliver you from worldly friends!

8. Openness is the essence of true friendship: True friends don’t keep secrets, they are open to themselves. Our Lord Jesus Christ told his followers, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant doesn’t know what his lord does. But I have called you friends, for everything that I heard from my Father, I have made known to you” (John 15:15). True friends are open to each other. To hide things from a friend is to treat them as slaves. While choosing your friends you should ensure that the ones you are choosing are people who are trustworthy and reliable – people you can easily open up to.

9. Good friends sharpens themselves: To sharpen someone is to bring out the best in that person. True friends don’t cover up, they help themselves to grow. That is why the author of the book of Proverbs 27:17 declares “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens his friend’s countenance.” Good friends sharpen themselves. They tell themselves the bitter truth. they correct themselves, they criticize themselves and they are ever ready to learn from themselves.

10. Above all, true Friendship attracts God: The Christians believe in the Trinity, that is the communion of Three unique and indispensable friends. Christians are those who share in this divine friendship. In Matthew 18:20 our Lord Jesus Christ declares, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” God is always happy whenever He sees His children relating well as true friend. Association with good friends is an association with God. Association with God is the most secured venture which anyone can embark upon.
True and faithful friendship is the most glorious thing that can happen in this world. The author of the book of psalm 133 declares the unity in friendship as the most pleasant thing on earth: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, upon the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountain of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded his blessing, life and evermore.” Friendship is indeed the channel of God’s blessing.

The Lord God wants us, his children to be united. He wants us to be good friends. He wants the best for us and that is why first commandment He gave us is the commandment of love. Our Lord Jesus Christ went as far as “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons (and daughters) of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes his sun rise on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:43-45).
Children of God are created for love. We are called to love and relate with one another as God love and relates with us. with love we can pull down the wall of division and hostility. With love we can transform and even liberate our world from violence and hatred. With love we can put an end to all the killings and destructions that are happening in our world today. With love we can build a world of justice and peace, a world where everyone is a friend and not an enemy. With love we can even establish God’s kingdom here on earth. Our world will then become a peaceful and livable place, a place where the Most High God dwells among His chosen people. God bless you as you join to make this world a friendly place!
Happy Int’l Day of Friendship from your humble friend,
Rev. Fr. John Damian Adizie of the Holy Spirit