There are many stories across the cultures of the world that are based on friendship. In fact it can be said that the core of the myths of the people of the world are based either on friendship or enmity. The Trojan Wars as recorded by Homer give us various scenes where friendship makes a band of soldiers stick together against a common foe.
Friendship is the backbone of the adventures of the Ramayana when Rama embarks on the treacherous journey to Sri Lanka to free his wife Sita from the monster Ravana’s abode.
The three musketeers in Alexander Dumas’s well know novel live their lives of duty based on a code of friendship that they coined: one for all, all for one. Notice that the same centuries old defines many modern friendships especially between nations as is the case with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) community of nations. An attack on one nation that is a signatory of NATO is an attack on all the rest and vice versa. So one can say that friendship is a state of human relationship based on mutual support and confidence between both individuals or communities of human beings. Friendship can either be based on truth or treachery.
The relationship between human individuals or communities can sometimes be undermine by suspicion, betrayal and distance. In such cases the question of whether the friendship was based on truth or treachery become quite stark. Once more the list of examples both in our own lives and in the lives of the fiction around us is endless.
How can one measure of true friendship?
Perhaps one of the most quoted definition of a true friendship is the one to be found in one of the lessons of Jesus Christ, the Christian Messiah. It is a lesson that breaches the boundary of his own faith and beliefs to speak to human beings of all religions and cultures across the world. “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Is a memorable verse uttered by Jesus in the Gospel of John 15:13. This utterance is the core of the most truthful of friendships.
True friends are those who are willing to lay down their own life for the sake of their friends. A true friend is your supporter as well as your bastion of hope when you face challenges that defy your individual strategies of coping. When the world appears to come down on you and your own mind cannot come up with the ways to cope with such our friends can be our last refuge. Just like the famous line from Dumas’ famous novel The Three Muskeeters, the famous line uttered by Jesus on the nature of true human friendships is an irreducible human truth.
It has guided the friendship of men and women, children and communities across the cultures and ages. Its manifestation in our life is a guide to a truthful friendship. Acts performed between human beings that are in line with the truth articulated in Jesus’ utterance bespeak of the way a true friendship manifests itself.
How can we be True Friends
We have seen that true friendship is transcendental and is not limited by the borders of culture, age or beliefs. It is a fundamental human quality that works for the good of the relationship between two or more individuals or communities. We can be true friends by paying the ultimate price. We can lay down our own lives, our own beliefs, our own needs, our own comforts for the sake of people we define as our true friends. In other words we can make sacrifices for the sake of the stability of our friendships.
Human beings can also show true friendship by being there for each other at the time of need. When people are in need, they discover who their true friends really are. These friends will stay with one through thick and thin. It is this ability to give support and time to the resolution of conflicts in other people’s lives that is at the core of the common saying: a friend in need is a friend indeed.
Support for each other as well as quality time devoted to one another are really the bedrock of a true friendship. Through them we offer gifts to each other. Through them we cry for each other. Through them we attend each other momentous events in life such as birth, graduation, marriage and death. True friends are those who live the truth in the words of Damas and Jesus given above. We can all be true friends by heeding the words of the two and living by the saying that a friend who is with you at the time of your need as well as you happy moments is the friend indeed.
Carroll, R. and Prickett, S. eds. (2008). The Bible: Authorized King James Version. New York: Oxford University Press.
Dumas, A. (1957). The Three Musketeers. London: Purnell and Sons.
Homer, (1961).The Iliad. Ed. R. Lattimore. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.