I preached on the topic, You Were Meant for Community from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 last Sunday. One of the key points was "a real friend will fight to protect you or your reputation." Here's a quote from that section of the message: "The words of this verse were written based on the military strategy of the ancient world. Nearly all combat was hand-to-hand. Soldiers went into battle with a partner, someone that could be counted on and trusted implicitly. The soldiers stood back-to-back in battle, always keeping their backs in contact. They fought whatever enemy came from any side."
It's essential that we have friends who have our backs. No matter how badly you mess up or fall short, it's comforting to know that you have someone who will be your friend. A real friend is someone who when you've made a fool of yourself doesn't feel you've done a permanent job.
A long-term friend told me today that he'd really made a mess of his life and was having to deal with a number of painful results. I let him know that I'd be his friend - I'd have his back - no matter what. He needed to know that no matter his failure he wasn't rejected by everyone.
Do you have friends who "have your back" no matter what? We all need them. And we need to be that friend for others. Think it through...