I finished Hans Dieter Betz's commentary on The Sermon on the Mount. In this post, I'll quote some statements that Betz makes about friendship.
On page 600, Betz states: "Greek ethics did understand love and friendship in terms of an exchange of favors; but the Greeks construed the granting of such favors merely as responses to favors received to be false love and friendship. True love and friendship do not wait for another to act and do not cease, even when rejected."
On page 632, Betz quotes Aristotle, who says: "...inferior people will make friends for pleasure or for use, if they are like in that respect, while good men will be friends for each other's own sake, since they are alike in being good."I wonder to what extent this is a true characterization of friendship. I think it was last week that a thought occurred to me: Rather than being preoccupied with the question of whether other people accept me and looking back with resentment on the times when they did not, perhaps I should accept other people. When we move into the realm of friendship, however, I tend to get a bit pickier, since I'm using my time to be with somebody else. In that case, my thoughts turn to what I can gain from the encounter----encouragement, a favor for the future, the enjoyment of laughing and joking around about life with someone else? I think that others are like this as well, to an extent, even though they may not be as touchy as I am in terms of getting their feelings hurt easily, or they may stick by their friends even when those friends are going through destructive phases. I think that friendship is a combination of give-and-take but also unconditional love. I know those are contradictory things, but I still believe that friendships have both. Maybe the unconditional love comes with time.