I spoke today at my church on the topic of homosexuality in response to the Connecticut Supreme Court decision to life the ban on homosexual marriages. One aspect I touched on was that just because two people live together does not mean they should have the privileges of marriage. I gave as an example, my roommate and I.
Later, I recalled an event that we had happen once where two Jehovah’s Witnesses came to our apartment and accused us of being homosexuals after just meeting us. They didn’t come right out and say it but talked about how evil the world is and said “Just look at you two for instance, living together like this.”
I’m sorry, but I don’t know much other way to take that.
However, as I ponder it, in many ways, that’s a kind of back-handed compliment. Friendship between men is often lacking I think and if two friends are close enough that they can be told a remark like that, then that is a close friendship. As I have witnessed events over the past year though, I have come to see more and more how important friendship is.
I could tell you many times that my roommate did something for me that was totally unexpected and yet, it was done. I could not explain it but in my mind I was thinking “Wow.” Often times, it’s not even explicit things. It is implicit things that I notice from the actions done that show that I am being considered in a way I would not have realized.
Of course, this goes both ways. As I said in my message today, if he was heading home and he got in a car accident, I would be the first one at the hospital. No doubt about it! Our friendship is unique and I would do whatever I could to help him out. There is no sense in even asking the question. Simply put, there is no question about it.
Aristotle spoke highly of friendship amongst the virtues and while there was a golden mean for the other virtues, there wasn’t for friendship. He even believed that friendship was essential for happiness and said that the essence of friendship was living together. Of course, that takes on a new connotation when one gets married where the spouse becomes one’s best friend, but even still, the true friends you’ve had will remain true friends throughout.
It also makes one think of the future. What will it mean when we each marry some beautiful ladies? I think of time with him and with other friends I’ve made here as well as we watch our children grow up together and start our careers. Should I get a book published, I can imagine them telling other friends that they knew me beforehand and getting those free author’s copies and acknowledgments going out to them.
Friendship is just unique. It is a chosen relationship like no other. One could say that the eros relationship is done for bodily pleasure, though few of us today I think would say we marry solely for that reason, but with friendship, the pleasure is in the joy of the other person and how you share the good and bad times together.
Friends are those people you can be open and honest with. My roommate gets a unique trust from me that my own family doesn’t even get. It’s just a different relationship and I’m sure there are many men out there that can relate to that. There are things you will tell your friends that you would never dream of telling your parents.
It’s something that needs to be restored also. In talking about homsoexuality, one person came to me afterwards and asked how he can help a man he works with who he’s trying to evangelize who is homosexual. I gave the advice of being a friend. Men who struggle often need good male friends who will just be friends with them and accept them as men. When it comes to talking about Christianity, don’t talk about sin first. Talk about Christ and his grace.
Friendship is a gift from God. I urge anyone who wants to consider more to get a copy of C.S. Lewis’s book “The Four Loves” and read on Phileo. Naturally, the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle as well. Something to consider is that friendship was a unique term in Plato as well. In the dialogue that discusses what a friend is, which is called Lysis, at the end, Socrates isn’t sure how to define it as per most dialogues, but he wants to depart from those he was dialoguing with as friends.
I think there’s a really deep truth to that.