8F’S – Friendship
Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 19, 2011
Here is a portion of the Friendship Resolution from the soon to be released book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward
A trusted friend is loyal to his friends, in front of them, but more importantly, when they are not present. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Loyalty to a friendship doesn’t mean taking the friend’s side on any issue – right or wrong, but it does mean he is a friend right or wrong. Friends must defend the other’s character, honor and reputation as far as truth allows, while helping to resolve any issue privately and promptly. Lincoln said, “A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have,” which is true as long as truth is on the side of one’s friend. The key principle to follow is, “Loyalty to the Absent,” protecting the character of those not present to protect themselves. For example, if a person isn’t willing to say something with the person in the room, then why is he saying it when the person isn’t in the room? Sadly, when this principle is abused, a person quickly gains the reputation as a gossiping tale-bearer, who can no longer be respected or trusted as a person’s true friend. But what if two friends fall into conflict, placing their mutual friends in the middle of unresolved conflict? In this situation, a true friend would bring them together in a spirit of reconciliation. Both parties must follow the conflict resolution principles (to be covered in Conflict Resolution), but if either side refuses to follow the guidelines, then he has violated the trust of all parties involved. What good is it to have principles, if they are not followed when needed? Self-deception can blind a friend, as Maxwell writes, “If you are not honest with yourself, you will not be capable of honesty with others. Self-deception is the enemy of relationships. It also undermines personal growth. If a person does not admit his shortcomings, he cannot improve.” At this point, a friend must be addressed privately and promptly, hoping to point out his blind spot error, praying that he returns to the principles espoused by virtue and expected by all true friends. Friends are loyal to one another, only abandoning a friendship when the friend refuses, after numerous attempts to return to the principles of virtue and honor. Simply put, loyalty to a friend only ends where untruth begins. Even in this sad situation, former friends should maintain confidences where possible, holding onto the hope that in the future, restoration is possible when principles of virtue are restored to the lost individual. Loyalty, fidelity and honor are seldom used in today’s society, but life-long friendships are founded upon them. Next to truth itself, loyalty is the most valued principle for friendship, forming the glue that holds friendships together during the storms of life.
True friendship is a lost art in today’s “Me” generation, but that only increases the value of a friend when he is found. The best way to find friends of this caliber is to be one, which is why friendship is one of the 13 resolutions. If someone dies having had several friends of this quality, then he is a blessed man. Make a commitment to give more to each relationship than one receives. Although simple in theory, this is much tougher to do in practice, especially with true friends. Friendship brings so much joy and fun into life, that it should be cultivated as a fine art. Conversely, damaged relationships bring so much pain into life, that conflict should be resolved promptly. Resolve the issues, not dissolve the friendship, if at all possible. The real wealth in life isn’t in a person’s net worth, but in his relationships with God, family, and friends. No amount of money can mend damaged relationship or purchase the joy and happiness experienced within a true friendship. Regardless of the fickleness and fecklessness witnessed in the world, resolve today to give others the fidelity and faithfulness of a true friend.