Hallmarks of a Friend –
Saturday, I drove with my wife, Denise, to Cincinnati, Ohio for the wedding of one of the young women in my church, Kristen Smitherman, to the love of her life, Emilio Voltaire. My role was simple and straight forward – to offer a prayer during the wedding reception. The first people we saw when parking our car outside of the church were Leslie and Roy Elrod, Md. and their children. They too, had driven from Detroit for the wedding.
I was not surprised to see Roy Elrod and his family at the wedding. He and the father of the bride, Dr. Herbert Smitherman are tremendous friends. Both attend the church where I pastor. On Sunday mornings, they and their families arrive at church and from the pulpit I can see the two of them “Catching up.” It’s good that I have a well-defined ego, because they often sit outside of the sanctuary in the lobby of the church and have their conversations. Saturday, I learned that in addition to being business partners and friends, Dr. Elrod is also the godfather to the bride, Kristen.
As the bride and groom did what brides and grooms do at a wedding, and the younger Elrod’s and Smitherman’s had a ball with their peers, cousins and others, the older adults also had their conversations and where left to ourselves. I took a photo of Herb and Roy during the wedding reception. As I focused the lens on the two friends I thought to myself, “How wonderful it is to have a friend!”
A true friend knows when to show up. A true friend will support you in your best and worst moments. A true friend will offer advice that is meant to help and not hurt. True friends will listen, laugh, learn and lean upon each other. True friends will bear with you in your suffering, smile with you in joy, and let you know in their own unique way that you are alright and in their minds, great as a human being.
Job 12: 26 The righteous gives good advice to friends, but the way of the wicked leads astray. 
Questions for Reflection:
- What measures would you use to score the quality of your friendships?
- What are some of the challenges of providing advice to a friend?
- What can we learn from Jesus Christ regarding friendship?
Prayer: Lord, grant me good friends. Through your divine providence and inspiration, teach me to discern those who truly love and care for me. Lord, show me how to be a better friend. Whisper in my ear and let me know when to reach out to my friends. Tap me on the shoulder and show me when to show up in support of my friends. When words flee like the wind on a hot night, inspire me with your presence and make me a better listener. When communicating with a friend, make me honest and forthright. When my friends could use a little help, make me uninhibited in sharing my time, money and thoughtfulness. Make me this day a better friend. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Additional Meditations written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Pr 12:26). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.