Soul Friend



Key Bible Verse: There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)

Dig Deeper: John 15:12-17

I first learned the word anamcara during [a] pilgrimage to Ireland. Anam is the Gaelic word for “soul,” cara the word for “friend.” An anamcara is a “soul friend”. Originally, this referred to someone to whom you confessed your secrets and sins, but it later came to mean someone with whom you could share your innermost self, your mind and heart. We need a friend in whose presence we can be completely open and transparent. When we feel safe and understood, our souls surface and we open up to others. We shed the half-truths and the façades and share our secrets, dreams, fears, failures, and hopes.

It’s important to know who your friends are. We should “bare our souls” only to those we are certain want the best for us, know us better than most, and would never betray us. Having a trusted friend to share our stories, anxieties, joys, burdens, struggles, and hopes is a priceless gift. We feel lighter and freer. But spiritual friendship is not just something that makes us feel better; it’s a gift that helps us become better. The goal of a spiritual friendship is not to have all of our viewpoints validated but to be formed in Christ. A true friend offers encouragement but is also willing to challenge and even rebuke us.

– Ken Shigematsu in God in My Everything

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