Choosing good friends is a blessing and an art. For good friends make life sweeter, days brighter and our journey pleasant.
Last evening around 6, I pulled away from my computer and paused because I detected a strange odor. I turned to hubby. “I smell smoke,” I told him.
Curiosity nudged us. We stepped outside. With possibilities bouncing off each other—is there a fire in the woods behind us? A neighbor’s house is in flames? Someone’s burning paper?
We had no idea, yet the smell was strong. So we walked back in the house through a different door, stepped into the family room. And to our shock, it was filled with thick, dark smoke.
Mom had purchased a new toaster. She didn’t realize there was paper stuffed in the slots for the bread slices. She dropped two pieces of bread, press the lever down. The paper caught on fire. After smoke billowed, flames shot up. Good thing she was quick to unplug it.
But how foolish of us to think the source came from someone else, when the whole time our own house could’ve been in flames.
When it comes to relationships, the same happens sometimes. We first look to others. We think it’s the smoke of their flaws, frail ways, shortcomings, weaknesses, and faults. That’s when judgment forms a thick smoke of division between loved ones, family and friends.
All changes when we happen to look into the mirror. To our chagrin, the thick smoke is all around us. The source wasn’t really with others, but we were the reason, we were the source of such unsavory characteristics.
Admitting this very thing is the beginning of healing, of acceptance, forgiveness and the making of forever friends.
And the God who is forever wise has the formula to nurture and keep good friends. Here are three parts:
- Extend the kind of love Jesus commands: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
- Extend mercy and compassion. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2 )
- Extend forgiveness, genuine and complete: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14)
Father, unity, harmony and peace is what I desire in all my relationships. May I nurture my friendships with the same love, forgiveness, mercy and compassion as you extend toward me. In Jesus’s name I ask, amen.
- What kind of relationships makes your life rich these days?
- What do you offer your friends?
- How can you be the kind of friend God commands?
I invite you to dance with me—celebrating my new book, “Contagious Courage: A 30-Day Journey to Overcoming Stress and Anxiety.” Get your copy here and tell your friends, too.
Contagious Courage: A 30-day Journey to Overcoming Stress and Anxiety
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