Single soul in two bodies
For reading & meditation – Proverbs 22:10-16
“He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.” (v.11)
The next pillar of wisdom to occupy our attention is that of friendship.
The wise are those who know how to make friends. The book of Proverbs emphasizes the whole area of relationships – love and respect for parents, love for one’s spouse and so on – but it pays particular attention to the matter of friendship. Why is friendship such an important theme in Proverbs? What exactly is friendship? How do we go about the task of developing good friendships? These are some of the questions we must come to grips with over the next few days. First – what exactly is friendship? Many years ago a Christian magazine offered a prize for the best definition of friendship sent in by its readers. Of the thousands of answers received the one that received first prize was this: “A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.” One way I describe friendship is this: “Friendship is the knitting of one soul with another so that both become stronger and better by virtue of their relationship.” Another definition of friendship by an ancient philosopher is “a single soul dwelling in two bodies.” The word “friendship” is usually applied to non-sexual relationships between people of the same sex, but of course it can be applied equally to people of opposite sexes. It goes without saying, I think, that romantic relationships like courtship and marriage ought to contain and demonstrate the qualities of friendship, and it is sad when married partners live together without also being the closest of friends. One’s life partner ought to be one’s best friend.
Father, teach me the art of making friends. Help me see at the very beginning that being a friend is more important than having a friend. Save me from getting the wrong perspective on this. In Jesus’ Name I ask it. Amen.
For Further Study
Ecclesiastes 4:1-10; Psalms 119:63-64
1. What is the value of a friend?
2. What was the psalmist’s attitude?