Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17

Oscar Wilde put it right. True friends stab you in the front.

Although I can’t remember where I read it, somewhere Jonathan Edwards said he didn’t learn as much from reading as from arguing. This has been my life experience.

But a good argument requires a friend. When a friend contradicts you, trusting that his counterpoints and contradictions are motivated by love, you respond with equanimity. You know he wants to improve you.

Thoreau says a good conversation needs the distance of a pond. I say a good conversation needs the closeness of a friend.

This was the sad thing about the “greatest generation.” They seemed so alone. No true friends. No men they drank and argued with. No men they improved. No men who improved them.

Jonathan had David and David had Jonathan.

Did you ever consider that Jesus needed His disciples? What other conclusion can we draw from this exchange:

Many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore, so Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?”

Do we not love Peter for his response?

Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”  – John 6:66-69

When Peter, James, and John failed Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus felt it acutely:

And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?  -Matthew 26:40

Who are your friends?

This meditation on friendship has been inspired by three days spent with Juergen Von Hagen. i don’t know where I’d be without friends. Not in any way to diminish the gift of a wife, but friends stick closer than any brother.

If you don’t understand, read Boswell’s Life of Johnson.

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