I have always counted friendship as something that was very valuable. When I was growing up, I was always the smallest guy in the group. The one thing I had going for me was that I could run fast. If the bully tried to beat me up, I would run, and run, and run, and run until he finally gave up, or saw a slower skinny kid he could beat on. As a result of this, I always tried to become the friend of a guy who was strong and would stand up for me. God has really blessed me with strong friends in my life time. I am still looking for friends who are strong in area’s I am weak. I have been blessed with many friends who have stood beside me in difficult times.
In the Bible, there was a man who had not earned friendship with the early believers. Saul of Tarsus … even the saying of the name created fear in the heart of Christians. He had made it his life’s ambition to kill or imprison Christians. However, something happened to him on his way to Damascus to capture more Christians. He met Jesus Christ, face to face! That meeting made an incredible difference in his life (as it should in your life and mine). He was transformed from a religious warrior to a witness! His goals in life changed in one quick meeting with the Savior. A change he had not anticipated, but one that was very real by the evidence of the remainder of his life.
In the early days after Saul’s conversion, very few Christians wanted to have anything to do with him. “But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus” (Acts 9:27). What a wonderful friend Barnabas was to Saul of Tarsus! What a wonderful friend he would be for you to have today in the struggles you are facing in life! We need friends like this … and everyone says, “Amen!” The real question on my mind is not if I need a friend like this … the question is am I a friend like this? There is not one person in this world that had made right decisions all the way through their lives. If you are looking for someone like that for a friend, you will be searching for a long time. The quality Barnabas displayed in be-friending Saul was a forgiving spirit. Today, make it a goal of yours to see the best in others and reach out to them. If you see evidence that their change is not real, be very careful; but reach out to them … they could be the next Apostle Paul!