Sometimes I think men get a bad rap. Often we see a stereotype depicted that most of men’s friendships revolve around watching football while eating wings and drinking beer, comparing NCAA Bracketology, or cheering on NASCAR drivers or UFC fighters. Hopefully we all know or are men who have witnessed something different.
In a recent Sunday School lesson we looked at the relationship between David, who had just killed Goliath, and Jonathan, the oldest son of King Saul. “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father’s house. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.” (1 Samuel 18:1-3)
Theirs was a covenant or spiritual friendship. As is often typical of men who serve on the battlefield together, the bonds were deep. They remained loyal to each other during the good and the bad times. David married Jonathan’s sister, Michal. Later Jonathan warned his brother-in-law that Saul was looking for a chance to kill him, helping him escape death.
The Sunday School lesson reminded me of a Farmville friendship. One day I went with Rocky to visit Jack at the hospital. He had on a large oxygen mask and his breaths were not coming easily. The doctors weren’t sure exactly what they were going to do about the recurring problems with his heart. Things were not looking good. Next to Jack sat his best friend. All Harold could do was hold Jack’s hand. Neither one was saying anything. Their children grew up like siblings or cousins. Together their families celebrated birthdays, weddings and especially Fourth of July extravaganzas to rival any “Southern Living” party. Along the way they shared some heartaches and difficulties. They might not understand the term, but they are true BFFs. In fact, after worship on the day of the David and Jonathan lesson we ran into Jack and Harold at a restaurant. They were at a table for two. Jack’s valve repair surgery was a real answer to prayer.
About which was the most important commandment Jesus answered the teachers of the law, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31) We must go and love our brothers and our sisters as ourselves. The bonds of Christian friendship and community breathe life into us and into this world.