When I look at the available books to read and review from Bethany House Publishers, I like to pick ones that will either be interesting or helpful to me. I hope that in choosing books in this manner I will also find books that my readers will find a joy to read or that will help them on their journey in life. Kim Wier wrote a very helpful book for women who are seeking to gain, grow, and develop friendships. The Art of Friendship: Creating and Keeping Relationships That Matter is grounded in the Bible to help readers follow the example of our best friends – God and Jesus.
The Art of Friendship
In about 180 pages, Kim Wier shares with us a step-by-step path we can take in order to find more friends, develop friendships we already have, and evaluate all of our friendships to make them more meaningful. The information is divided into 16 easy-to-read chapters that I found to be both well-written and thought-provoking. Wier discusses why we don't need only one BFF, how digital connections and friendships don't necessarily mean we have tons and tons of friends, and how we can evaluate ourselves using the Fruit of the Spirit.
A Look into the Book
Throughout the sixteen chapters, readers are reminded that we have the perfect place to go to, in order to find examples for friendship. There are many examples in Scripture that shows how a friend:
- "is loyal in every circumstance."
- "fills the gaps of your weaknesses."
- "takes action when you need it most."
"The entire Bible, from Adam to Jesus, spells out the ingredients, the techniques, and even the spiritual health benefits involved in creating meaningful, lasting, God-modeled relationships." (82)
Wier takes a closer look at the friendship of David and Jonathan and the friends of Job and provides readers with a chart to provide examples of the stories of friends in the Bible and where to look them up in the Bible. For example, the friendship of Jesus and Peter being an example of "a friend who always settles differences with reconciliation" (107). There are also several chapters that discuss the different forms of agape love and relates it all to the fruit of the Spirit (patience, kindness, etc.).
What Did I Think?
I must admit to spending some of the book crying as I was reading it. Making friends was always difficult for me. As a child, I could not really have friends over as my father was an alcoholic. So, home life was sometimes rocky and unpredictable. I got caught in the trap of needing to find a BFF. In fact, one of my favorite books by Judy Blume was about best friends. I wish that someone had told me that there are many different types of friendships.
There are points in The Art of Friendship where Wier asks the reader to list friends, pray over the list, and evaluate it based upon Biblical principles and examples. I like that while we are given a specific task, there is no place to write it down in the book. I often feel where authors leave space for reflections leaves me to think I have to answer the questions then and there with no time for actual reflection. I like that Wier brings us back to the list at the end of book – bringing readers full circle.
I would recommend The Art of Friendship by Kim Wier to Christian women seeking to form more meaningful relationships. With personal examples of friendships both inside and outside of her church provided, Wier gives readers hope that meaningful relationships are there for them to make with a little introspection. I think The Art of Friendship would also be a valuable tool for church leaders to help them provide advice and encouragement for the women of their church.