Happy Friday everyone! The week is nearly over, and with it comes all the trappings of weekendom: fun, games, laughter, and anime! And what do these all have in common? Nope, not that they can all be experienced over the Internet, but that they are all made way better with friends! We humans are a strange lot. We form alliances and bonds over the slightest of things, and break those bonds at the tip of a hat sometimes. But then, sometimes we form bonds with one another that are nearly unbreakable. Sometimes we form close connections with those around us; connections that are too unique and time-weathered to be shared with anyone else. Why is that?
Part of the reason is that, as humans made in the image of God, we share some of His characteristics, fellowship being one of them. God Himself is one distinct part of an entity made of three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit, who has and always will coexist simultaneously, enjoying eternal fellowship forever. And so we, as humans and Christians, seek a similar close union, a camaraderie with those around us. We try to form our little circles of influence, gaining followers and wading through complex relationship cycles. And as we navigate this self-constructed chessboard, we are often at a loss as to how we should interact with others. How should I approach her? What will he think about me if he knows I like this? What if they think I’m dumb? With all of these questions, how can we learn to be good friends, with anyone? To answer this question, we’ll take a look at a few relationships: specifically, the relationship between Jonathan and David in the Bible’s Old Testament, and the relationship between the main character of Sword Art Online, Kirito, and the friends he makes over the course of the series.
The first obvious similarity between the two sets of people is that while their friendships were born out of mutual necessity or benefit, they did not end there. In 1 Samuel, after defeating the giant Goliath, David becomes the personal aide to King Saul, his job being to abate the King’s frequent bouts of rage with music from his harp. As Jonathan was the son of the king, a bond between the two of them would have been lucrative for both parties: Jonathan had someone who could potentially influence the king, and David had someone who could put in a good word for him anywhere in the kingdom if he ever needed it. In the same way, each of Kirito’s relationships began as a partnership: he helped Klein to learn the basics of combat; assisted Silica in the effort to revive her nearly-dead dragon; became Asuna’s partner to battle the first boss; helped Sinon to win the Bullet of Bullets tournament. But neither relationship ended at the immediate benefits: Jonathan and David went on to become the most iconic friendship of the Bible, Klein became Kirito’s best friend, he formed a brotherly relationship with Silica, he grew to love Asuna more deeply than he loved anyone, and he found a kindred sister in Sinon.
The reason each set of relationships lasted and grew into something meaningful is because each person in the relationship valued the other more than just for what they could do for them. They looked past the immediate benefits, saw the heart of the other person, and took a leap of faith into the relationship because they wanted to get to know that person. They didn’t try to change themselves, or be different in order to attract a companion; rather, they presented themselves as honestly as they could, and hoped for the best. And that seems to be how the best friendships form: not through contrived and perfectly arranged methods, but through the normal, everyday circumstances of life, you stumble on something new…something special…something God-given. And you end up thanking Him for that person for the rest of your life.