Drive away friends

In The Book of Sirach, Chapter 23 Verse 22 states:

 Should you speak sharply to a friend, fear not, you can be reconciled.    
But a contemptuous insult, a confidence broken, or a treacherous attack will drive away any friend.     

  Even if a man insulted his friend, broke a confidence, or attacked his friend, is it not possible that the second man might forgive the doer and they remain friends?       


The passage is not discounting forgiveness.
The passage is counseling against being a harsh.
Of course forgiveness is always a possibility, however hard for some people to do.

It sounds like the book is offering general advice about human relationships, to help people learn common sense, rather than an ironclad rulebook about human behavior. The same is true of the book of Proverbs, which is filled with statements that are generally reliable, but which have a number of exceptions to the rules. The point of the passage in question SEEMS to be be that
Normal friendships are filled with moments of tension
But betray a serious trust, and you can ruin any relationship

Thanks for the great question–now I want to go read more Sirach :slight_smile:

These wisdom books seem to be filled with many wise sayings. Many times the advice seems so modern, like it could have been written this afternoon. In that sense, it tells me that the ancients (as they are referred to) would be people much like you would encounter today.

I don’t use Facebook or Twitter, but these don’t seem to be smart alec remarks like I hear about in these modern blog media. I can’t say this either from an exhaustive review of the wisdom literature or a photographic memory of them, but they seem to reflect somebody writing with a religious outlook, at the very least.

1newcatholic, Thank you for declaring that this inquiry was a great question!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit