My friend, Dr. Ray Van Neste, recently commented on and posted a great selection of quotes about friendship between men from Stephen Ambrose’s book Comrades: Brothers, Fathers, Heroes, Sons, Pals. Friendship is an important, but neglected topic today. Here’ what Dr. Michael Haykin says about it:
Our culture is not one that provides great encouragement for the nurture and development of deep, long-lasting friendships. Such friendships take time and sacrifice, and western culture in the early twenty-first century is a busy, busy world that as a rule is far more interested in receiving and possessing than in sacrificing and giving. And where such friendships are found, it is usually among women. Friendships among men in our culture are often superficial, rarely deep or close. (The God Who Draws Near, 71)
But it should not be so among Christian brothers. As Dr. Van Neste put it so well in his post, “(Ambrose’s book) is a powerful portrait of the brotherly love which is supposed to flourish in the soil of the gospel. By common grace this flower appears in the wild sometimes. The church ought to be a greenhouse full of such flowers and in that way drawing humanity to this richness for which people long.” Friendship is, in fact, a dim reflection of the loving communion that exists among the members of our Triune God, and is therefore part of the way we bear the image of God. In the coming days, I intend to thank God more intentionally for the friendships with which he has blessed me, and to think more deeply on how he intends to use friendship as a means of grace in my life.