“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” I think Albert Schweitzer was right on the money when he penned those words. I have a close friend and every time we get together our conversation eventually turns to spiritual things. No matter how down or indifferent I am about my spirituality, this friend has such enthusiasm for God that I leave the conversation renewed in my courage and trust.

If you have a close friend in your life you are very fortunate, and you would be wise to cultivate that friendship and not take the person for granted. I think one of the biggest mistakes we make in relationships is not letting people know how much they mean to us. I read a quote that went something like this; marriages don’t break up because of a lack of love, but because of a lack of friendship in the relationship. For friendship to grow it has to be cultivated, otherwise it slips away over time and the people we once were close to fade away and simply become memories.

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another;  ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” That’s true, isn’t it? Friends are made over common beliefs, interests and likes, but what holds them together is the bond of knowing you’re not alone in your thoughts. We aren’t looking for perfection in our friendships, just acceptance and understanding. Bob Marley put it quite well, “The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.” It’s true, friends do hurt us from time to time but the mark of real friendship is simply how we respond to those hurts. Oprah was right when she said, “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” Like the Prodigal Son, when everything went well and he had lots of money, he had lots of friends, but when he ended up broke and broken, everyone left. True friends, however, are still there to ride the bus with you.

If you really are interested in how friendship works take a few minutes to look at the following Bible verses. Job 2:11; 1 Samuel 18:1-3; 2 Kings 2:2 and Ruth 1: 16-17. And of course, the greatest example of friendship is Jesus death for all of humanity. “This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are my Friends, if you do what I command you.” John 15: 12-14 We are friends of God, what an amazing concept. In God’s eyes we are the ones worth suffering for.