The Old Testament reading for the day was taken from the book of Sirach. Although I have not read the book of Sirach from start to finish in a couple years, I remember it having nugget after nugget of wisdom, particularly in regards to relationships [for example--I want to be that wife...sigh].
Today's reading, though certainly applicable to spouses, spoke about friendship in general:
A kind mouth multiplies friends and appeases enemies,
and gracious lips prompt friendly greetings.
Let your acquaintances be many,
but one in a thousand your confidant.
When you gain a friend, first test him,
and be not too ready to trust him.
For one sort is a freind when it suits him,
but he will not be with you in time of distress.
Another is a friend who becomes an enemy,
and tells of the quarrel to your shame.
Another is a friend, a boon companion,
who will not be with you when sorrow comes.
When things go well, he is your other self,
and lords it over your servants;
But if you are brought low, he turns against you
and avoids meeting you.
Keep away from your enemies;
be on your guard with your friends.
A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter;
he who finds one finds a treausre.
A faithful friend is beyond price,
no sum can balance his worth.
A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy,
such as he who fears God finds;
For he who fears God behaves accordingly,
and his friend will be like himself.
As I listened to the reading, I was reminded what it is to be a good friend...and what it is to be a poor friend.
I found the reading to be both warmly sentimental, as I thought of some of the great friends God has blessed me with...as well as convicting, as I thought of ways I could be a better friend:
by refusing to engage in, or tolerate, gossip
by always having the best interest of one's friend in mind
by being there for one's friends, especially when it's difficult & not just when it's convenient
by not using friends for ulterior or self-serving or selfish motives
by really listening to one's friends
and who could forget the Golden Rule: treating one's friends as one would like to be treated.
I have been blessed with some great friends...
Friends who have been friends for years and have seen me through really hard times.
My sisters, who are WONDERFUL.
Girlfriends who I can share my faith with and who understand me in a speical way.
Other Moms with whom I can share that bond.
My incredible husband, who embodies everything a good friend should be.
And, of course, our Lord, who is the perfect friend who will never disappoint or abandon us.
I like how the reading also communicates that not everyone is a good friend and it is ok not to be friends with everyone...but that a faithful friend is a sturdy shelter, a faithful friend is beyond price, and a faithful friend is a life-saving remedy.
And how true!
Thank God for readings like this to inspire me to be a better friend and thank God for all my faithful friends!