Our second series takes a look at practical biblical instruction on how to foster relationships in genuine love. The following Proverbs speak to specific types of relationships and what love requires of us if we are to walk out those relationships effectively, but these concepts also can be applied generally to all our personal interactions. As with any practical instruction, the goal is regular application. Let us be intentional about applying this instruction to develop good relationship habits.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Here we see two different types of relationships [friendship and family] that share a common trait. That is the expectation of reliable fidelity. This verse does not suggest how one should behave but describes what we are to expect of certain people. The language here tells us what the characteristics of a friend and a brother are. A friend behaves a certain way, and a brother has a purposeful duty.
If I call myself your friend, I must love you at all times. If I don’t, I’m not your friend. It’s as simple as that. Loving at all times means that my attitude does not change based on the circumstances of our relationship. If you annoy me, I still love you. If you disagree with me, I still love you. If you let me down, I still love you. If you wrong me in any way, I still love you. And this love is not a feeling but a behavior. I don’t simply love you with my emotions but with my actions and words. You should be able to rely on my faithfulness in this regard.
If I call myself your brother, I have a duty to help you through the hard times. My purpose is to lighten the load when you endure trouble and hardship. I was born for this. However, there is no need to feel anxiety or fear at the prospect of having to join another in battle. If this is a purpose of mine, then I must expect that I have been designed and equipped with the capacity to walk this out. If I feel pressure, I consider it a privilege of the position, to be able to help another stand.
If you call yourself a friend, you must love like one. If you call yourself a brother, you must be willing to engage in battle. And if you have friends and brothers in your life, I hope that you find them as faithful as they are called to be.