Continuing on last week’s post, there are many reasons that friendships are successful. Sometimes it’s because of shared interests, sometimes it’s because of a mutual threat, but one of the most important is encouragement. Few things are more uplifting than a friend who helps to share your burdens, one who loves you, and takes it upon himself to give you strength when you’re weak. This kind of friendship is praised throughout the Bible, and is nowhere more evident than in the relationship between David and Jonathan.
As an up-and-coming military man, David was becoming more and more famous as he spent time in Saul’s court, and the people were singing his praises in the streets. Naturally, being already unbalanced, Saul grew jealous of David, and wanted to trip him up in any way he could, from giving David his daughter a s a wife to sending him to kill multitudes of Philistines by himself. The more successful David was, the angrier and more restless Saul became. Jonathan, being the good friend that he was, interceded for David with his father, and implored him not to hate David. Despite this, Saul still attempted to kill David, knowing that David would eventually take the throne, and he drove David out of his court.
True friendships often start with the breaking of bread.
Through all of this, Jonathan was faithful to David; even though he knew that David would take the throne, he still pledged himself to help David, and they made a covenant together to stand by one another. Jonathan and David’s friendship is fueled by a mutual love for one another, evidenced by their commitment to be there for each other. The relationship between Kirito and Asuna begins this way; they met when teaming up to fight the first boss of the starting floor of Aincrad, and their mutual partnership continued as they both adventured through the castle world. As they helped each other, they grew to know and understand each other more and more deeply, getting to know the desires and motives behind their actions. Kirito brought a sense of peace and humanity to Asuna, just as she brought companionship and strength to him. Neither of them would have been able to fully realize their potential alone, but together they were able to overcome the game world.
Love can blossom, even in the virtual world.
As Christians, we can do the same. God did not intend for any of us to be “solo player” Christians, but to work together as a community to further the gospel. Paul tells us in Hebrews not to forsake “our own assembling together…but encouraging one another”. The church is to be a place where believers can come and be refreshed by the fellowship and encouragement of other believers, and Christian friendships should be the same. God wants Christians to be bound together by mutual love for Him, so that we can work together to overcome the bonds of this world, and be free to live as God intends. We can achieve this in many ways, whether it be bringing food to a sick friend, helping a fellow church member with household chores, or simply being there for a friend in need. Whatever the case, it is clear that we are not meant to be alone. Whether you’re part of a party or guild, a church or Bible study, a co-op or school club, God calls us to spread His light through the relationships we have with others, and in doing so, we can prepare ourselves and those around us to beat back the monsters of life and clear this dark reality together.