Explanation and Commentary of Proverbs 17:17
This proverb refers to a Christ-centered relationship that is based on love for God (Mt 22.36-40). Natural friendships do not always love. This type of friendship is built on a common belief or interest. Two people might share a common passion. The friendship can crumble if one person moves in a different direction. Maybe two people find themselves in the same low place, but one rises out of it or becomes more moral, while the other decides to end the friendship or drag them back.
Any test or adversity will be overcome by a relationship that is bound by the Holy Spirit and the love of God. God doesn’t call us to live alone. If one is not alone in a desert, then he/she is called to community and relationship with Christ. If one is the sole Christian, then evangelism should be the order of business (as it should). Christ must be between you and all others. This is how one can feel genuine love and Christian fellowship.
Proverbs 17:17: Breaking down the Key Parts
1 “A friend loves at all times”
A true Christian friend will love every friend no matter what. Love is about caring, helping, listening, and covering for an offense. It also means being patient, not envying, never boasting (1 Cor 13:4-7). This type of friendship and love can only be supernatural. This means that you will speak the truth when necessary. Christians should love God more than their friends (2 Cor. 8:5) to be true friends and lovers “at all times.”
2 “And a brother is born during a time of adversity.”
This refers to one’s brother in Christ or one’s blood relative. Jesus warned that blood relatives could turn against us if we believe in him, so it is better to think of these as brothers in faith. This is because we were adopted by our Father in Heaven into a family (Eph 1:15). Jesus is in a certain sense our great older brother, who is one with God (Heb 2:11). Christ clearly was “born in a time of adversity” because he was born to die at Golgotha for us. He has given us his Spirit, at the Father’s right hand, to help us navigate through any adversity. He even carried us on his shoulders. It is important to remember to be a brother to other brothers. Sisters are also affected by this. They are adopted into Christ’s family through the blood of Christ. They inherit Son’s firstborn son through him.
How You Can Be a Friend That Loves at All Times
1. Change your attitude
This point has been made before. It’s a mindset to be a friend.
It is important to start with the idea that everyone we meet must be treated the same way we would like to be treated. Your mother was correct when she paraphrased Matthew 6:31 “Do to other people as you would like them to do to you,” Regardless of whether it’s your mom, Mr. Rogers, Jesus, or anyone else, they all agree on one thing.
It can be helpful to repeat the words as a mantra. Randy Draper is a man I know who made “Happy to Do It!” his life motto. The same title was even the title of his book. He is able to keep a positive, helpful attitude despite his knee-jerk reactions in situations that might not be very favorable.
2. Make a list.
It’s easy to be friends with our friends so make a list. List those people who you find difficult to like. Write one helpful or friendly activity that you can do for each person next to their name.
While I now work remotely, I was a co-worker in the local school system. I could tell they were talking negatively about me during breaks. They offered me a job that they thought was too difficult and gave me a reason to feel rejected.
I was particularly struck by the rudeness of one woman. I decided to smile whenever I saw her and say “Hi” to her. I also refused to speak negatively about her to anyone. If she was waiting for me to get to the copier, I’d let her go ahead of me. These little tokens added up. Although we never had a great relationship together, I believe she has stopped hating me.
And I know that the actions I took responsibility for, including mine, were what Jesus would approve of. I would love to say that I am able to be kind and helpful to all “sandpaper” people in life (those who rub me wrong), but I’m still learning.
3. Think about the “time” you spend with your friends.
Times of crisis: Everyone has to deal with a number of crises in their lives. You can help someone you know who is battling a serious illness, has lost their loved one, has had surgery that has left them permanently incapacitated, or is injured. Offer to cook for them, take care of their pets, or simply stop by to say hello. It’s amazing how simple acts of kindness can have such an impact on people.
Side effects of breast cancer treatment made it impossible for me to leave my home more often than I could attend church every Sunday morning. A few women reached out to me and provided more comfort than I can express.
Carolyn, a friend, and widower fell on her shoulder. Her family mainly lives out of town so she couldn’t stay home. For a few days she slept in a chair in my living area while I kept the ice machine running. She stayed with her friends for three weeks until she was able to go home. She still tears up when she remembers how grateful she is, many months later.
Times of Daily Fatigue Sometimes, I wonder how certain people manage so many demands on their lives and the drama in their families’ lives. They are overwhelmed, I’m sure. You can bring a cup of coffee and invite her to go shopping. This is a great opportunity to have a conversation, gift a pair of movie tickets, or offer your help with the kids on Saturday. One of the greatest gifts I received was flowers that were planted in my front yard pot.
Times Of Joy: Befriend the Unsuspecting by being a friend at every stage of life, including birth, marriage, retirement, and promotion.
The house next to her was sold last year to a woman who lived a lifestyle that she believed we would condemn. It’s normal for her to have lived with rejection so much for so many years.
My husband was mowing her lawn on a hot summer day. She seemed stunned. She was visibly moved when I gave her a loaf of bread for Thanksgiving. She was moved by our actions and has developed a casual relationship with us that she didn’t expect.
It is rare to receive a card by mail these days, so it can have a huge impact. When a person at work or in your neighborhood has something congratulations-worthy happen to them, if you hear about it, send a card.
Once you are in the “friendly” zone, I am sure that you can think of other ways and times to treat others as friends.
Although this imperative seems simple, it is actually quite difficult. It’s not an easy task, but it can bring you rewards. You feel better about yourself, you gain an appreciation of others who may have been overlooked, and you are more open to new relationships. It’s the best thing to know that we are pleasing God by acting as if He were there. Because He is–He lives through and in those of us called Christian.
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Biblical Translations of Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.