Friendship Hierarchy

A Conclusion

Jesus, while on this earth, befriended thousands, among them:

120 who believed in Him, followed Him – Acts 1:15

72 who did ministry for Him – Luke 10:1, 17

12 whom He discipled, whom He called “friends”  – Mark 3:14

3 whom He granted more insight and understanding – Mark 5:37, 9:2, 14:33

AND

The one whom He loved, who leaned upon Him at meals, to whom He entrusted His last revelation.
John 13:33, 21:7, 20, Revelation 1:1-2

What is a best friend?

Oh, if only we all could be perfect friends! What a world it would be!

But it is not.

The day may come, though, when each of us can realize, “My friend is as close to me as myself. I love this friend like my own life. She is the best friend a person could ever be.”

“Best” friends have existed from the beginning of recorded history. Words for “best friend” appear in many languages. The ancient Hebrew word was alluph meaning “guide, chief friend”. The Greeks grasped this idea, too, with their word peitho meaning “persuade, trust, confidence”. The words appear in Proverbs 16:28, 17:9 and Acts 12:20, where it mentions a man who is “trusted personal servant of the king”.

You know, the one who saddles his horse, pours his wine, and hands him his clothing; the one who stores his seal, adjusts his armor, and sleeps in his doorway. No one gets past this man because he loves his king more than his own life. The king has hand-picked him because of his loyalty. Many may want the job, may even attack the servant with gossip, because of jealousy, but the king has final say and this man is it.

This closest friend has free access to your soul, can tell you off or kiss your cheek without blame. It is the duty and privilege of this closest friend.

You would trust this friend to discipline your own children, to manage your estate, to give you a sponge bath if you had a fever. You would trust this friend to talk you into or out of a huge decision.

You would tell this friend first, if you sinned a huge sin. The wrong person in this slot could completely destroy you.

Pure trust. Pure friendship. It happens once in a lifetime for some, never for others.

No one, no one, should enter into this type of friendship lightly. Such trust must always be earned.

Such trust is not always mutual. One friend may trust more than the other because of differences in caution levels, need levels, or past hurts. Even lack of time can cause one to forego such friendship.

Sometimes it is fleeting. Two men trapped in a fallen mine shaft may trust each other in this way until they are rescued, when those golden hours become a golden memory of the highest humanity can be.

Sometimes we must trust medical professionals this way, for a brief time, and, of course, sometimes that forced trust can seem very awkward.

What joy that for some women, such a friendship develops inside marriage! Many women, though, may feel they need one female friend of nearly equal status to the husband, just to have someone with whom they can discuss the pitfalls and surprises of marriage to a man.

For some of us, our own mothers can be this type of friend. For some of us, our mothers must rely upon us in this manner.

Jonathan risked his life to save David’s. Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king. My sister was my mother’s executrix. Pure trust, rightly placed, is a precious gift.

If you find that opportunity, take it.

Take it very slowly.

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10 thoughts on “Friendship Hierarchy

  1. Karen says:

    I don’t know what to say EXCEPT that this conclusion was very good. I had some questions about this deeper type friendship. Thank you for answering them. Twas so helpful.

  2. Kate Kresse says:

    There really are stages and levels of friendship. Some get deeper sooner. Sometimes people insert themselves with too much familiarity too soon. When that happens and then they get rude it makes me want to say ‘we aren’t close enough friends for you to say that to me or ask me that’…but usually i find out that i have found a kindred spirit. i think kindred spirits are sometimes discovered gradually and other times it happens quickly.

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Absolutely, it can go quickly, but that is rarer, still. Wisdom demands that most of us ease into any relationship. The fun of sharing externals and cautiously “leaking” the deeper things, testing all the way, is part of the joy of developing a mutual friendship. Some want to marry without the courtship, in a manner of speaking. Yet, for some, as you have noticed, that is perfectly good.

  3. faerylandmom says:

    This has been an incredibly profitable read for me today.

    I have five women whom I call my “best friends,” but I don’t know that I’ve opened myself up so completely to any of them. Yet. Some are very, very close. And I’ve been burned. Oh! how I’ve been burned lately…forgiveness is winning out, but we’ll see where the friendship goes from now on.

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