The Value of a Friend
by Dr. D. Wayne Beeks
During shift briefing many years ago, when I was a new deputy, a senior deputy was sharing some of what he had learned over the years, and wished he had known from the beginning. Aside from the usual topics to be expected on how to handle bad situations, was advice that is applicable to all, not just police officers and first responders. That advise was simple. Find a friend, someone in the office, where you two can share unquestioned trust in each other. As you go through your career, and even life in general, you need someone you can share your innermost secrets and fears in complete confidence. Having such friends that know you well and can relate to your pain and struggles will prove to be invaluable over the years, many times saving your career, and possibly even your life when the pressures become too much to bare. As police officers, and other first responders, we get a front line to seeing the worst of the worst in people, and the horrific carnage perpetrated upon one another. Through the years I have seen how golden that advice was that day, the ability to share my pain and fears with a closely trusted friend, and I continue to share this advice with all the new officers I was blessed to train, and have had influence upon over the years.
Charles Kingsley lived in the United Kingdom from his birth on June 12, 1819, until his death on January 23, 1875 and was a priest in the Church of England, a university, professor, historian, and novelist. Today there are many books that contain his many notable quotes. One famous quote is on the definition of friendship:
“A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend; one human soul whom we can trust utterly; who knows the best and the worst of us, and who loves us in spite of all our faults; who will speak the honest truth to us, while the world flatters us to our face, and laughs at us behind our back.” Charles Kingsley
What a great definition for a what a real friend is; just as true now as it was when he spoke it. It is truly a blessing to have such a friend that we can share our secrets, our faults, and in turn can speak honestly to us. The value of a trusted friend is also presented in the Bible in the book of Proverbs:
“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” (Proverbs 27:9)
“The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.” (Proverbs 12:26)
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17)
Clearly is the importance of a close friend; one in which we can seek counsel, give, and receive advice, and to build each in character and strength. Finding and building such strong friendship is not just essential for the police officer, and the first responder, but for us all as we go through the challenges and struggles of our lives.
Lord we give thanks for the blessing we have received and continue to receive. Please guide us in building the relationships we need to keep us strong so that we may better serve as we are called. May our trusted friends be of true heart and not given to the sins of a gossip.
We pray in Jesus’s name