The Two Sides Of Friendship

If you want to double your joys or half your sorrows, share them with a friend. That's the advice of Francis Bacon. In The Essays, Bacon writes:

But one thing is most admirable . . . which is, that this communicating of a man's self to his friend, works two contrary effects: for it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halves. For there is no man, that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the more; and no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he grieveth the less. The Essays by Francis Bacon, 1561-1626

Bacon was echoing an essential Biblical truth: You were made for relationships! Those who labor in the field of relationships reap the golden harvest of friendship:

  • A friend is there for you. A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17
  • A friend doesn't desert you. A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
  • A friend tells you what you need to hear. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, profuse are the kisses of an enemy. Proverbs 27:6
  • A friend shares with you heart-to-heart. Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. Proverbs 27:9

Friends find their joys increased and their sorrows diminished--not so for those who go it alone. Bacon describes those poor souls as "cannibals of their own hearts." The words are fitting. Without a friend to lean on, we can only pat ourselves on the back or drown in our own misery.   

Who helps double your joy or reduce your sorrow? Thank God for that person and then take it one step further -- thank them!