By David Faust
My barber is my best friend. You see, my wife cuts my hair. During our first year of marriage, I was on the receiving end of a particularly bad haircut—a near-scalping experience in a smoke-filled barbershop. Arriving home afterward, I asked Candy, “Could you cut my hair from now on?” She gazed at my freshly shorn cranium and replied, “I can do at least as well as the barber you just visited.” The rest is history.
We’ve done the math. According to www.mistershaver.com (yes, that’s a real website), the average price of a standard men’s haircut in Indiana, where I live, currently stands at $18 plus tips. Prices have risen over the years, so let’s conservatively estimate the average value of my haircuts at $15 each. If Candy has given me an average of one haircut a month for the last 44 years, she has cut my hair approximately 528 times. At $15 per haircut, we have saved $7,920. Of course, we need to deduct the cost of a few pairs of scissors—and the electric shaver Candy uses to trim my neck, which I later learned she also used on one occasion to groom our dog.
There has been another price to pay. Our home barbershop puts strain on our relationship, especially when the haircuts take place late at night when we’re tired and grumpy. The Bible says not to let the sun go down on your anger, and that principle definitely applies when your wife is armed with sharp instruments. Over the years we have exchanged a few cutting words because she accidentally nicked my ear with the scissors or I dared to criticize her barbering skills. Thankfully, no blood has been shed during most of my haircuts. By God’s grace, Candy and I remain best friends despite enduring a few close scrapes.
That’s what true friends do. You trust them enough to put your safety in their hands. You help each other even when it’s inconvenient. You stick together through complicated problems and late-night arguments. You forgive each other, and you laugh together whenever you can.
Job’s friends weren’t at their best when they offered opinions about why he was suffering. They served him best when “they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was” (Job 2:12, 13).
Job’s friends served him best when they kept their mouths shut and sat on the ground crying with him. For a week they literally got down in the dirt with him—they even sprinkled dust on their heads—silently empathizing with his pain.
After taking a towel and washing his disciples’ dirty feet, Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Do you have friends who get down in the dirt with you? Are you willing to be that kind of friend?
Personal Challenge: Think of a friend who is going through a tough time. Prayerfully consider how you can lovingly serve that person by empathizing with them, by “getting down in the dirt” with them. Then sacrificially do what God calls you to do.