What is Friendship?
The Japanese have a term, kenzoku, which translated literally means "family." The connotation suggests a bond between people who've made a similar commitment and who possibly therefore share a similar destiny. The closer we look for the answer the more elusive it becomes. The characteristics that define a kenzoku relationship most certainly are.
1. Common interests. This probably ties us closer to our friends than many would like to admit.
2. History. Nothing ties people together, even people with little in common, than having gone through the same difficult experience. As the sole glue to keep friendships whole in the long run, however, it often dries, cracks, and ultimately fails.
3. Common values. This may not necessarily be enough to create a friendship, if the values are too divergent; it's difficult for a friendship to thrive.
4. Equality. If one friend needs the support of the other on a consistent basis such that the person depended upon receives no benefit other than the opportunity to support and encourage, while the relationship may be significant and valuable, it can't be said to define a true friendship.
What makes a Friend Worthy of the Name?
1. A commitment to your happiness. A true friend is consistently willing to put your happiness before your friendship. It's said that "good advice grates on the ear," but a true friend won't refrain from telling you something you don't want to hear, something that may even risk fracturing the friendship, if hearing it lies in your best interest.
2. Not asking you to place the friendship before your principles. A true friend won't ask you to compromise your principles in the name of your friendship or anything else. Ever.
3. A good influence. A true friend inspires you to live up to your best potential, not to indulge your basest drives.
What is true friendship according to the Bible?"
Answer: The Lord Jesus Christ gave us the definition of a true friend: "Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you" (John 15:13-15). Jesus is the pure example of a true friend, for He laid down His life for His "friends." What is more, anyone may become His friend by trusting in Him as his personal savior, being born again and receiving new life in Him.
There is an example of true friendship between David and Saul's son Jonathan, who, in spite of his father Saul's pursuit of David and attempts to kill him, stood by his friend. You will find that story in 1 Samuel chapter 18 - 20. Proverbs is another good source of wisdom regarding friends. "A friend loves at all
times, and a brother is born for adversity" (Proverbs 17:17). Finally, the real definition of a true friend comes from the Apostle Paul: "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. No greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends" (John 15:13). Now, that is true friendship!
As I thought about it, there are four people in my life I consider kenzoku. How many do you have?