Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend, nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.
Regardless of one’s culture, the instutution of family carries some common characteristics for all. This might escape us in our modern world where we have access to so much and are trained to grow to live independently. We might lose sight of the fact that people have depended greatly on the support of family for millennia. There always will be thosee who leave the nest and move far away, but many will stay close to home even in adulthood because they understand the need for family. Of course, this does not mean that our relatives always will be nearby to help, and that is where our friends enter the picture. The biblical perspective of friendship is really like family.
This passage speaks of wisdom, but it also speaks of expectation. We might not have a brother or sister nearby when we need one, but we have friends. We have our friends, and we have their friends. God places these people in our lives because we will need them just as they will need us. The expectation we have for family to fill a role and be there in our need is no different than the responsibility God places on us as friends. For a friend who has no brother, you can be a brother. For a friend who has no mother, you can be a mother. After all, when we are speaking of Christian friendship, we are speaking of people who have been adopted into God’s kingdom family with us. That is the nature of our relationship.
We might say that there are certain things that we would do only for family. Maybe a friend asks you for what you consider to be a big favor, and you think that they are asking too much. One of the great principles from this verse is that we should not view the need of a friend as any different than the need of a brother or father. Our response should be the same. Our willingness to help should be the same. That is the gap that God has us fill for one another. When I have no brother to help me, the hope is that I have a godly friend who can step in to be the brother I need. Father, help us to live out these friendships correctly, to see and treat our friends as the family members they are.