NO ONE IS A FAILURE WHO HAS FRIENDS!
“It’s a Wonderful Life” is one of the best classic movies of all time. The film first appeared in 1946 starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. It has been one of my favorites “forever.” One of the most needed messages in that movie for our day is the statement that the angel (Clarence) made to George, “No man is a failure who has friends.”
A cartoon in a newspaper had the first frame showing a thief who was wearing a mask and his gun was pointed toward a frightened victim. In the next scene the robber is holding out a sack and saying, “Give me all of your valuables!” In the next scene the victim begins stuffing all of his “friends” into the sack.
Friends are one of our most valuable possessions. Real friends are those who love you in spite of your faults, failures, and sins. Friends are like walls. Sometimes you lean on them and sometimes it is enough just to know they are there. And real friends are “always” there. Friends are a joy to have. “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart and pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel” (Prov. 27:9). This verse indicates that as perfume brings “joy to the heart,” so does the “pleasantness of one’s friend.”
We all need friends who “cheer us up” when the “chips are down.” Solomon wrote, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up” (Eccl. 4:10). We need someone who will help us when we are hurt. We need someone who will stay…come what may! I will never forget a statement written to me by a “friend” (close relative) years ago when things were not going well for me at all. The note said, “I don’t know what you are going through, but I want you to know that I am with you every step of the way, no matter where it leads.” A friend loves at all times…whether in triumph, trials, or tragedy. A wise man wrote: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov. 17:17). We all have “fair-weather” friends (?) who split when adversity strikes. But there is a big difference between “fair-weather” friends and “stick together” friends. Someone has said, “A friend is a person who knows all about you, yet loves you anyway.” There was a contest to define the word “friend” and the winning definition read: “A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”
“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov.18:24). We may have some friends who get in “low places” with “sad faces,” but they are still our friends. I remember reading somewhere that one of the marks of true friends is that they are there when there is every reason for them not to be. Jesus was known as “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matt. 11:19).
I wrote the following poem as I was thinking about my friends.
My friends are my friends…come rain or shine
I have lots of them…I even call them “mine.”
Folks may say things about them…that don’t have a good “ring”
But what they say to me…never changes a “thing.”
They are friends of mine…and it will stay that way
Others can’t change a thing…by what they write or they say.
If they say things to “hurt” them…no need saying them to me
They may as well go into a forest…and tell it to a “tree.”
I never pay attention…to that kind of stuff
If others do not like them…well, to me that’s “tough.”
You must “know them” to “like them”…and that may sound far out
But I know them and I like them…that’s what friends are about!
There may be a few things about them…I might like to “re-arrange”
As there are things about ME…I would certainly like to “change.”
But it is what it is…because we are who we are!
And if I call you my friend…to me, you’re a “star!”
My friends are my friends…“faults and all”
And I’m right here for them…if ever they call.
Of course, Jesus is my best friend…because He died for me
And He left me an example…of what a real friend should be!
Happy New Year! to all of my friends!