[foundation of true friendship] is that each person knows that all things–even those he values as useful and necessary–are to be treated as secondary to the value of love and peace. The fourth is that each person believes from the bottom of his heart that he must never become angry for any cause, whether just or unjust.
To live in a true friendship you must consider everything as secondary to the “value of love.” While it is easy to write these words it is quite nearly impossible to live them. Note how John Cassian says this and recognize that he says this from a life lived within a monastic community where men shared a common life together in close proximity: “[A]ll things–even those he values as useful and necessary–are to be treated as secondary . . .” You may value something deeply, and even believe the other person should value it just as much, and you see what you see, as useful and necessary, but when all is said and done what really matters is love. Everything else is secondary!
The next foundation for true friendship is stated by Cassian in this way: “[E]ach person believes from the bottom of his heart that he must never become angry for any cause, whether just or unjust.” Anger will kill friendship, every time and in all circumstances. No real friendship can survive it. Anger never works the grace and peace of God.
Numerous wisdom sayings in Holy Scripture underscore this point:
Fools show their anger at once, but the prudent ignore an insult (Proverbs 12:16).
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1).
One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and one whose temper is controlled than one who captures a city (Proverbs 16:32).
Those with good sense are slow to anger, and it is their glory to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11).
A fool gives full vent to anger, but the wise quietly holds it back (Proverbs 29:11).
Make no friends with those given to anger, and do not associate with hotheads (Proverbs 22:24).
For as pressing milk produces curds, and pressing the nose produces blood, so pressing anger produces strife (Proverbs 30:33).
No deep and growing relationship can handle anger and hotheaded temper tantrums. Whether you believe you are right or not, and even if you think your cause is just, you cannot keep a friendship if anger prevails between you and the other person.
Tomorrow: True Friendships (4)