Rev. Father John Damian Adizie, OCD
TODAY is International Friendship Day. Friendship is not just the best gift to humanity, it is also a gift that must be celebrated. International Friendship Day is observed annually every first Sunday of August. It is a day set aside to reflect on the essence and importance of friendship. It is also a day when friends celebrate the gift of their friendship through the exchange of gifts and pleasant-ries.
Jesus Christ is the Author of authentic friendship. Ever before the proposal of World Friendship Day by the World Friendship Crusade on July 30, 1958, Jesus Christ had encouraged his followers to use money to make as many friends as possible so that when money fails, those friends will not fail (Luke 16:9). Friendship was first established and approved by God.
Friendship is the most precious and most powerful force that binds people together. Strangers come to know themselves better through friendship. Friendship is indeed the foundation of a lasting relationship. A good friend is the best companion anyone can have. A man without a friend is like a single tree in a field, which can never make a forest. Life without friendship is not worth living.
We are created for friendship: friendship with God, our fellow human beings and our environ-ment. God created man in His image and likeness because He wanted him to be His best friend. The first thing God observed after creation is that the man was living a life of loneliness and isolation, there was no suitable partner for him. God said, it is not good for a man to be alone; He then created a help-mate for the man (Genesis 2:18). A friend is therefore a helpmate, a companion, a soul-mate; one who fills the empty vacuum in the life of his fellow human being.
We have good friends and bad friends. A bad friend is someone who pretends to be a friend when he is not. He is like a green snake in a green grass. A bad friend is a betrayer, a pretender, and a traitor. He can deceive and disappoint at any time. He does not care about your welfare. He is only interested in what he gets from you. He will just use you and dump you with-out considering your feelings. You can never rely on a bad friend. Relying on a bad friend is like relying on a broken pot, none of them can hold water.
How does one know a good friend? By their fruits we shall know them. A friend in need is a friend indeed! A good friend is someone who is always there for you, even when others abandon you. A good friend is ever ready to forgive you even before you ask for forgiveness. A good friend does not court charges. He understands you more than you understand yourself. He sees what others cannot see in you. A good friend can never hurt or betray you – come what may.
A good friend does not hide any secret from his friend. He protects his friend by furnishing him with useful information. Our Lord Jesus Christ told his followers, “I call you friends because I have made known to you everything I learnt from my Father” (John 15:15). Hiding a secret from a friend is as dangerous as hiding your true identity to your friend. Nothing destroys friendship as secrets. Good friendship is built on trust and openness.
Sharing is the essence of friend-ship. Friends share a lot in co-mmon. They share their ideas, gifts, wealth, time, business, challenges, success stories, word of God, and even love. God’s love is a self giving love. He loved the world so much that He gave his only begotten Son (John 3:16). Jesus shared his bread and fish with the hungry crowd.
A healthy friendship is built on sacrifice. For Christ Jesus, sacri-ficial and self-giving love is the highest expression of love. “Great-er love than this…that a man should lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). A good friend is ever ready to sacrifice his life for his friend, just as Jesus did for his followers. When they were about to arrest him with his disciples he insisted that his disciples should be released and himself be arrested. No one has ever done this except Jesus.
Communication is very important in a healthy relationship. The more friends communicate with themselves the more they get to know each other. Friendship can never grow without a healthy and frequent communication. Apart from communication, friendship can also be kept alive through visitation, celebrations, and exchange of gifts and pleasant-ries.
Dear friend, now that you know the importance of friendship, Why not use this medium to put a smile on your friend’s face by wishing them Happy Int’l Friendship Day!