May 3, 2011
friend- a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile; a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard
acquaintance- a person known to one, but usually not a close friend
We all have friends and acquaintances alike. Some have more than others, but, usually our "Friend List" is significantly shorter than our "Acquaintance List". I, personally, have a very short friend list. I have about four really close friends, plus my husband, who know me intimately, emotionally speaking. They know how I work. They know where I'm weak. They celebrate my strengths. They can be trusted with my heart. And I know them the same way. I've formed a special fondness for each one of them. They have become a happy part of my life.
Recently, a dear friend of mine confided in me how someone dear to her said something in the name of "honesty" that was very hurtful and, in reality, untrue. Our friends count on us to be honest with them. It's natural. It's expected. It's the basis of trust and respect. But, should you ever sacrifice your friend's feelings in the name of honesty? Listen, we all need to be very careful and ever mindful, no matter how close we are with our friends, to never say anything to hurt our friends no matter what our opinions might be. It's just not acceptable. The world is brutal enough, the voices in our own heads are brutal enough, that we don't need anyone else, much less someone who is supposed to love us so much, to be cruel and hurtful, no matter how well-intentioned. Our job as Christians and women, is to lift each other up. There are many waiting in line to squash us down on their desperate climb up the ladder of life.
If we have a hard time treating our friends well, how do we fare where our acquaintances are concerned? I recently read something along the lines of this: Be careful how you behave today. You may be the only bible someone ever reads! What a great reminder of how we are to conduct ourselves during our waking hours.
It's not always easy to be nice. Hey, I have been accused many times of being blunt, rude, and unkind. I am making an effort to change this perception of me. It's strange because I have never been super confident, boisterous, or mean within the confines of my heart of hearts, but, I'm certain that I've come across that way more than once. I have got to make an effort to be aware that there are circumstances in the lives of people I encounter that I have no clue about. You just never know what secrets are hidden behind closed doors; what demons are fighting within others' hearts and minds.
As we go out into the world, let's try to put our instincts of unkindness and intolerance aside. Let's all try to remember that our words and actions could very well do either much harm or much good. Let's all make an effort to extend the benefit of doubt in all situations and show the love of Christ everywhere we go. You may never know how it will impact someone's life.
"They must not speak evil of anyone, and they must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone." Titus 3:2
"In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them." Philippians 2:4-5
"But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law." Galatians 5:22-23