Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
Go-To Verses from the Bible
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17
Good morning Prayer Team!
Our last couple go-to verses have been related to friendship, and what makes a good friend. We talked about “iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) Today we are going to use another verse on friendship from Proverbs, “A friend loves at all times.”
A true friend is a friend who is always there for you. We’ve all experienced high school drama, either in our own lives and/or the lives of our children. High school drama is an example of how not to be a friend. I remember back in high school, people would try to make plans, and invite people out, only to be “stood up” at the last minute when they got a better offer. This isn’t an example of good friendship, but of a relationship of convenience, i.e. I’ll hang out with you if you are the best of the options. People who carry this kind of drama into adult life find that they don’t have many meaningful friendships.
A true friend loves at all times—at times when it is convenient and at times when it isn’t. A true friend is the one who is going to drop whatever they are doing and come to your assistance if you are in trouble, one who is going to take your phone call when you need someone to talk to, one who is going to offer encouragement when you need encouragement, and who will challenge you when you need to be challenged. A true friend is going to work hard to discern exactly what will help you the most.
A true friend loves even when they are mad at a friend. When I think of some of my best friends, one of the things I love most about them is our ability to disagree and still remain friends. I love that when one of us makes a mistake and says or does something wrong, forgiveness is easily given. This is what it means to love at all times. Good friends don’t necessarily need to talk every day, but my best friends are people who I connect with every day in prayer—I pray for them, they pray for me. We are loving one another in a Godly way at all times, whether we actually speak to each other on a given day or not.
A true friend is someone who doesn’t judge, someone who you can feel comfortable confiding in because they won’t share your secret or look down on you for being less than your best. In order for love to exist between two friends, there has to be an ability for both to be vulnerable. To love at all times means there is comfort sharing a fun day like a trip to the beach and there is also comfort sharing a failure or shedding some tears.
As for the last part of this verse, “a brother is born for adversity,” well we need our closest friends in our times of adversity. Most of us have lots of cursory or “surface” relationships. There are lots of people who I know who are acquaintances, and even friends. But the friends I identify as my closest friends, these are the people who I would call first in a time of adversity. Because our friendships are not just made for fun (though they are fun), they are made to help me get through the tough times. This is the greatest benefit of good friends. To be there for one another not only in the best times, but especially in the hardest times.
Lord, thank You for the gift of friendship that I share with (list the names of your closest friends). Thank You that they are here for me in my good times and my tough times. Help me to be a good friend, to keep confidences, to not judge, to offer help and encouragement and to be a shoulder to cry on when times are tough. Please bless me with friends who will be this for me as well. Help us to love one another at all times. Help us to love You at all times. Amen.
A true friend loves at all times, in good times and especially in tough ones!
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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