A Dear Friend in Christ
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus…To Philemon our
beloved friend and fellow laborer. (Philemon verse 1)
An amusing yet inspiring event stays firmly in my mind. I once had a
chance to observe a classroom filled with first-graders. When I stepped into
the classroom, the first thing that attracted my attention was two kids, a
little girl and a little boy, busily fighting over a toy. All of a sudden,
without any warning, the girl punched the little boy right in the face. It was
a shocking moment indeed!
While they were quickly being separated, the little boy, whose nose was
bruised from the punch, kept yelling at the little girl, “You’re not my friend,
you’re not my friend!” Thus went my first day of classroom observation. On the
second day, I could not resist looking for the same two kids. To my surprise,
they were playing together again, with the same toy.
Filled with curiosity, I approached the boy and joked with him, “Say,
didn’t you fight with your friend yesterday?” The boy paused for a moment. With
an innocent look, he answered, “Well, the teacher said that we have to share.” And
that’s how they became friends again.
Let us stop for a second to think about this question: “What does
friendship mean to you?”
For first-graders, friendship is simply the willingness to do things
together. But as we grow older, the relationship between friends is no longer
as simple. When we get to know our friends better, we begin to move the
relationship into a long-term commitment.
The friendship is no longer based solely on common interests or
activities; rather, it is established by helping with and sharing each other’s
difficulties and burdens. That is why John Ray came up with the proverb “A friend
in need is a friend indeed.”
The Bible also gives us many
lessons concerning friendship in Christ Jesus. In the epistle of Philemon, we
find a very touching story between two friends. Paul wrote this short epistle while
imprisoned because of the gospel. During the imprisonment, he was without any
family. In fact, some of his friends abandoned him.
But there was still someone who
prayed for him. That someone is none other than Philemon, a friend Paul considered
close and dear to his heart. No wonder Paul felt joyful and thankful in the
midst of his difficulties. It is because of the loving concern of his dear
friend. What a beautiful friendship!
When reading through Apostle
Paul’s other letters, we see the many troubles and difficulties that he went
through in his life. Certainly, his heart must have been touched to know that
there was still a friend who cared for his well-being. Isn’t that exactly what
we long for?
When your heart is troubled, it
makes a huge difference to have a friend standing next to you and supporting
you with their care. Let us also strive to be such a friend to others since the
Lord Jesus never tires of lending us a listening ear when we are sad,
sorrowful, or frustrated.
Questions for Reflection:
1. Have you ever considered Christ
as your friend in times of need?
2. Think about the last time you
were a listening ear to your friend’s troubles or difficulties.