Some time ago a person with whom I was discussing friendship told me that she was very selective about whom she allowed into her circle of friends, and so she had very few of them. Although she seemed proud of the fact, I said to her, “That’s too bad. I have thousands of friends all over the world because I’m not selective at all.”

We each have the right to determine for ourselves who our friends will be and what constitutes a friend in the first place. Since I am committed to increasing love on the planet, I am admittedly biased toward increasing friendship, rather than restricting it. So, what follows are some of my basic ideas about the subject, drawing on quotes from the Bible and Hawaiian words for related ideas. In the Book of John (15:13) for example, Jesus makes this profound statement: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

This statement has become so familiar that it’s easy to miss what Jesus is really saying (i.e., that there is no greater kind of love than that of friendship).

It’s not brotherly, or sisterly, or parental, or
devotional, or altruistic love. Friendship tops them all. The rest of the biblical chapter contains equally important and related but seldom quoted statements.

Here’s the whole thing: This is my commandment, that we love one another as, I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends. . . . Henceforth, I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of my father I have made known unto you.