清楚誰是你朋友的重要性

By Robert J. Tamasy

快點--說出你最好的五位朋友,若你說不出五位,就說三位,或者兩位。要不然能說出一位長久以來非常要好的朋友嗎?

我們都有朋友--或者自認為有朋友。偶爾我們也把職場裏的一些同事當作朋友--他們可能與我們處在同一部門,或者是在工作上與我們合作的人。有時我們也會在公事以外的社交場合與他們見面,但基本上與他們的友誼還是局限在職場內。

一般而言,在我們的生活中會有各種型態的朋友。他們可能是我們打高爾夫球或網球的夥伴、一起旅遊的同伴、財務顧問、相約喝咖啡聊天的人、或鄰居…等等。每一個人對「朋友」的定義可能不同,但大部分人認為,「朋友」指的是會與我們一起分享歡樂的人,不論是藉著電話、簡訊、電子郵件或採用最古老面對面的方式相處,我們喜歡和他們在一起;我們期待與他們的互動時刻。總而言之,「朋友」是能擴張我們的生活境界,並且讓每一天更愉快。

然而,要檢驗友誼不是在情況好的時候,那時我們的事業興盛,我們周圍的人可以分享我們的成功。當我們的生活走下坡時,朋友會顯示出他們的真相。就如有人曾說:「當你平步青雲,你的朋友知道你是誰。當你跌倒,你知道誰是你的朋友。」

在困難或痛苦的時候,沒有比聽到朋友誠心地說:「我在你身邊,」或「我挺你。」更讓人感到安慰。有一句話說:「當情況變得艱難,堅強的人會跨過去。」但對友誼而言,當情況變得艱難,真正的朋友不會跨過去--他們留在我們身旁,盡他們所能地幫忙。

關於友誼,聖經談到一些擇友原則。

患難見真情。我們都有一些朋友能與我們一起分享快樂與休閒。他們可能會說:「我們在一起時有好多歡笑。」但當我們遭遇挫折時,誰會是我們的朋友?當「歡樂」離開「挫折」來臨時,我們可以倚靠誰的幫助? 「朋友乃時常親愛,弟兄為患難而生」(箴言17章17節)

應該慎選朋友。有種人似乎是每個人的朋友。他們善於社交,喜歡與人接觸。往往這樣的關係是膚淺的,對他們而言個個都是泛泛之交,稱兄道弟不過流於浮面,因此這種人並不是在任何情況下我們都可倚靠的朋友。所以,應該慎思明辨選擇寶貴的朋友。「濫交朋友的,自取敗壞;但有一朋友比弟兄更親密」(箴言18章24節)

良友會提出逆耳忠言。好朋友會深切且真正地關心我們,他們願意告訴我們真話,即便我們並不想聽。他們會說:「我說這些是為了你好。」雖然他們說的話在我們聽來並不覺得好受甚至刺耳,但他們仍會基於愛心說出真話。「膏油與香料使人心喜悅;朋友誠實的勸教也是如此甘美」(箴言27章9節)

勞勃.泰默西是領袖資產協會的傳播部副部長,這是一個總部在美國喬治亞州亞特蘭大的非營利組織。

省思/討論題目
請你說出好朋友時,誰會出現在你的腦海?對你而言為何認為他們是好朋友?你重視他們哪方面的品格? 在你生活中,如何區分不同型態的朋友,以及與你有較深關係的朋友?你認為這兩類朋友是否有重疊的可能?請解釋。 你認為對「友誼」而言,還有哪些特質是重要的? 回想一次你向一位(或一些)朋友求助的過程。那次的經驗說明了你與他們之間的友誼是處於何種程度?註:若你有聖經且想要讀更多有關此主題的經文,請參考以下經節:箴言24章1-2節、25章17節、27章17節;傳道書4章9-12節;馬可福音14章50節;路加福音15章6節;約翰福音15章13節


THE IMPORTANCE OF KNOWING WHO YOUR FRIENDS ARE
By Robert J. Tamasy

Quick – name your five best friends. If you cannot name five, name three. Or two. How about one very good friend you have had for a long time?

We all have friends – or at least think we do. Some of our colleagues at work we regard as friends – they can be people in our department or those we collaborate with on various projects. In some instances we also see them socially outside of work, but often our friendship stays within the confines of the workplace.

Typically we also have friends that fill various roles in our lives. They can be our golf or tennis partners, traveling companions, financial advisors, someone we meet occasionally for coffee, or people that live in our neighborhood. The definition of “friend” may differ from one individual to the next, but most of the time, friends are people with whom we share smiles; those whose company we enjoy; individuals we look forward to interacting with, whether by phone, text, email or the old-fashioned way, face to face. For the most part, friends expand horizons of our lives and make each day more enjoyable.

The litmus test of friendship, however, is not when things are going well, when our career is thriving and people around us can share in our successes. Friends show their true colors when our lives turn upside-down. As someone has said, “When you rise in life, your friends know who you are. When you fall down, you know who your friends are.”

In times of trouble or distress, there are not many more comforting words than hearing a friend sincerely say, “I am here for you,” or “I”ve got your back.” There is a saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” But in terms of friendship, when the going gets tough, true friends go nowhere – they remain alongside, eager to help in any way they can.

The Bible has some interesting things to say about friendship:

True friends are revealed when difficult times come. We all have images of people who are friends that enjoy sharing times of fun and recreation. “We have lots of laughs together,” they might say. But what about when we encounter setbacks – who are our friends then? Who can we count on for help when the “fun” is gone? “A friend loves for all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).

Friends should be chosen carefully. There are people who seem to be everyone”s friend. They are highly social, gregarious individuals. Sometimes, however, those relationships are superficial, not the kind we can rely on regardless of our circumstances. So valued friends ought to be selected with discernment. “A friend of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

A true friend can be counted on for sound advice. The best friends are those who care about us deeply and genuinely, to the extent they are willing to tell us the truth, even at those times when we are not eager to hear it. “I am telling you this for your own good,” they will say, even if what they have to say does not seem good at the time. “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one”s friend springs from his earnest counsel” (Proverbs 27:9).

© 2015. Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Who came to your mind when you were asked to name your best friends? Why do you consider them good friends – what qualities do they exhibit that you value? How would you distinguish between friends that fill a certain role in your life and friends with whom you share a deeper relationship? Do you think there can there be an overlap between the two? Explain your answer. What are some other qualities that you consider important in a friendship? Think of a time when you turned to a friend – or friends – for help at a particular time of need. What did that experience tell you about the quality and depth of their friendship?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 24:1-2, 25:17, 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Mark 14:50; Luke 15:6; John 15:13

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