Keller: True friendships are as rare as they are special

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, June 1, 2016

In the middle sixties I was in the insurance business and worked with an assistant manger named Frank Baiamonte.

Now deceased, Frank was a master of personal relations. He became my good friend and was a big influence in my life.

One evening after a day of working together, we were having a few drinks at Roussel’s Restaurant in LaPlace. In the course of the conversation he said, “Harold, you seem to have plenty friends.”

I agreed. He then got my attention when he said, “In life, if a man has five real friends, he is a rich man.”

I didn’t think much about that at the time, but, now, after many years, I realize that I maybe have five people who are true friends. Having said that, I would like to think that I’ve been a real friend to at least five people.

Friendship is a word that many people, including myself, use loosely.

Charles “Chuck” Colson, a former presidential aide to Richard Nixon spent time in prison for his role in the Watergate scandal that ended Nixon’s presidency.

He became a Christian after the scandal and before he went to prison.

After his release, he started which was to become the largest international prison ministry.

Shortly after his freedom, Mr. Colson was asked to speak at a prestigious university. The young audience was still hostile toward the Nixon administration.

One of the cabinet members in the administration had criticized his former boss. One student asked Mr. Colson if he agreed with the criticism.

He said, “We all know Mr. Nixon’s negative qualities. I could tell you his good points, but I don’t believe I could persuade you to accept them.”

He didn’t agree with the criticism of Mr. Nixon and went on to say that he was Nixon’s friend and he wouldn’t turn his back on his friends.

The young hostile crowd gave him a standing ovation. That proved that all people appreciate loyalty.

That should make many of us question if we’ve been a good friend or have any real friends.

Charles “Chuck” Colson is one of my favorite Christian speakers and authors and is a true man of God who fulfilled his purpose in life.

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