Way back at the beginning of time, after God had created the universe and populated it with all kinds of living things, Scripture says he looked at his work and saw it was good. However, after he made man, the Bible says that "the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:18). So he created Eve. And the world has never quite been the same!
Jokes aside, however, we all need somebody by our side. Introverted people are generally solitary people. I should know because I am one. However, although we might be able to move faster on our own, there are dangers in playing it solo. As the wise King Solomon once said: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
This is why Jesus always sent his disciples out in pairs. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits (Mark 6:7). He did the same with "seventy-two others, sending them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go" (Luke 10:1). Sending them out in pairs effectively cut the number of towns he could reach by half, but that was alright by him.
God, of course, recognized the principle of twos in the very beginning, which is why after creating Adam, he created Eve. A caring and understanding (and forgiving!) spouse can be the best partner one can hope for, but in the absence of a spouse, we need a good friend whom we can trust and depend upon.
The reasons are not hard to see. Working in pairs ensures mutual support, as we have already seen. It increases confidence because you know someone has your back. It reduces the burden considerably as some of the load is shared. It makes for an effective witness as one person can back up what the other person says and rush to the defense if required. It also reduces the danger of pride because it becomes a team effort. And, of course, there is the joy of companionship — it can get lonesome on your ownsome.
The Bible has some beautiful stories of friendship. One of the most well-known is the friendship between David and Jonathan, Saul's son. Other good examples are the friendships that existed between Ruth and Naomi, Elijah and Elisha, Paul, and Timothy, and, of course, Jesus and his apostles. "I have called you friends," he said to them at one point, "for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15).
Unfortunately, good friends are rare and hard to find, almost as tricky as finding a suitable life partner, which means we may need to enlist divine assistance. And once we make a good friend, we should keep them. Here are some ways to cultivate good friendships. Be a good listener. Show interest in their lives. Be dependable. Be honest and authentic. Practice forgiveness. Celebrate their successes. Spend time together.
So, let us choose friendship today, beginning with the one person we truly need to be good friends with — God. May he bless you and your friendships.