Thursday, January 24, 2019

”Best friend”

A strong desire within most women is the perceived need for a “best friend”.  The Bible encourages friendship in general, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” Proverbs 18:24.  Deep friendships are able to withstand personal rebukes “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses“ Proverbs 27:6.  But the Bible does not have the category of “best friend”.  I submit that it does not have such a category because a “best friend” does not exist.  

My wife has said that I am her “best friend” but I am not and when I have pressed her on it she agrees with me.  If a “best friend” existed the person to fill such a position would need to feel empathy for another person in all ways and I cannot do that for my wife.  She has experiences that only women can have (carrying and birthing children, monthly cycles, submitting to a husband, etc.). I can love her, respect her and support her but it is only women who can 
empathize with one another.  But I just said the category of “best friend” doesn’t exist so that means that even a woman cannot be a “best friend” for another woman, if I am correct.  That’s right and it is right because even though a woman can have greater empathy for another woman over that which a man can have, no person can, with satisfaction, fully empathize with another person.  Our personalities differences, our education differences, our intelligence differences and our mental and physical health differences impede our ability to fully identify with another person’s experiences.  We are, as the Bible says, “under the sun” and thus unable to know as only God can know.  This leads to an obvious answer which is that Jesus should be the best friend of every Christian.  But I am not going to fully agree.  Yes, Jesus can identify with us better than any person can.  The presence of the Holy Spirit in us can hear our cries and catch our tears.  But, we also “see through the glass dimly”.  We have not yet seen Jesus face to face.  This means that we are not fully whole and that weakens our confidence in believing  and experiencing Jesus as our best friend.  What women and men who feel the need for a “best friend” need to do is recognize and then confess that feeling the need for a “best friend” is a call to die to self.  Times we feel the need for a “best friend” are opportunities to bring such feelings under the authority of the Holy Spirit and to accept that what is presently possessed in this life is sufficient for the moment.  


I realize that my argument that the category of “best friend” doesn’t exist relies on you accepting the definition of “best friend” to be a person who fully empathizes with another person.  If you have a different definition you may dismiss my conclusion regarding the existence of  a “best friend” but please don’t dismiss the final point which is to die to self when such a desire for a best friend rises within.

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