A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
It started out as friendly competition in their adolescent years. They both ran cross-country for the same school and pushed themselves to be more successful than the other. In the context of sport, their competitive nature really helped them excel and perform at their best. In life beyond that their competition turned into something else. Each one felt he had to have the nicer car or the bigger house. Each one wanted his children to attend the better school and get the better grades. Even planning vacations which were meant to be relaxing became contentious events as each man tried to outdo the other. It eventually became clear that these friends no longer worked to push each other forward but each just wanted to get ahead of the other.
If we want to know whether a friend is treating us in love, we need only review how love is defined in the scriptures. The famous love chapter [1 Cor. 13] lays out what it means to love someone properly. We know from that chapter that love does not seek for itself. Instead, it seeks the good of the one who is the object of that love. This is how we are to love even when our friends do not reciprocate the same standard. Today’s verse tells us that we are to love our friends at all times. It is not based on circumstance or the status of the relationship. The love we show might look different based on those factors, but the objective is to love always regardless of them. We do unto our friends that which serves their best interest, that which encourages and supports them.
People’s attitudes and emotions can change like the tide, but our love for our friends must remain constant through all of that. The closer friends become, the more transparent they become with one another. As the friendship moves from a superficial relationship to a close one, it takes more work to keep it going. If we truly love our friends, we will hold the opinion that the work is worth it. We will want the best for them even if it means putting ourselves aside. We will treat them with godly love even if that is not what we receive in return. It is not about us; it is about them. Father, increase our love for our friends that we would be steadfast in working for their betterment through all seasons of our friendships.