Friendship is a tricky word to define. We know it's a relationship between two people or groups and know they come in different degrees. A casual acquaintanceship usually lasts a short time. A business relationship is based on common goals and can be very tenuous. When we have a close friend, we talk to them on a regular basis. When we have a best friend, we talk and share about very personal things.
Can family members have friendships with one another? Yes, a relative in my husband’s family kept reminding me how our friendship grew after her son died.
Can neighbors become friends? Yes. On my refrigerator is a decorative magnet. It's message is clear, “Neighbors by chance-Friends by Choice.” The couple who gave us this little keepsake, well, she’s in heaven now. Right after she died, I found myself explaining that they were more than neighbors for 33 years but also friends.
Can everyone we meet be our friend? Alas, no. We live in a fallen world. We might see a person we meet behaving in an unacceptable way. Are their actions unseemly? We might hear a person use words that are not what we want to hear. At a campground recently, my family and I had to hear words coming out of teenagers’ mouths that embarrassed all three of us. The park personnel finally removed them from the grounds.
Can friends become like family members? Yes. We recently spent time in the area of my husband’s childhood home town. We always try to see his friend from grade school and that man’s family. This last visit, we saw the friend and his wife. They were going to be camping at the same campground as our son. Husband and I went out to see the friend’s mother. When she lent my husband one of her trucks to go over to where her son was working, she and I got to talking. I told her about our loss of my dad. I told her we had military rites and I wanted to get a box for Dad’s flag. I told he what the mortuary wanted for one. She went into another room and brought out the one she found at a craft store. She told me how much she paid for it. She was trying to help me. She has always been especially nice to us. But she really will never know what she did to help me. She and her family are truly like family.
All these friendships are blessings to me.
Monday, June 29, 2009
“. . . and the greatest of these is love.” (I Corinthians 13:13)
Poets write about it. Songwriters pen lyrics and spark something in our hearts. The apostle Paul tells us it is “. . . the greatest of these. . . .” He also calls love “the most excellent way.” (I Corinthians 12:31)
Jesus tells us to “love the Lord, you God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Mark 12;30) He also commands us to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”(Mark 12:30)
“Love” is a term we overwork. We ‘love’ to take walks. Some of us ‘love’ brownies or anything chocolate. Others of us ‘love’ ice cream.
One of the gospel songs of the late 1960’s tells us “. . . and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” But how do we show God’s love to others? As I was leaving a family restaurant recently, I had to stop and step around another customer who was in conversation with the shift leader on duty. I looked up and saw a man of a different race holding the inner door open for me. I thanked him as I went through. He then reached behind himself to open the outer door while still holding the inner one, as well. Again, I expressed my thanks. There was another woman coming through both doors behind me but I never heard anything from her as she exited the building.
People, especially Christians, should learn to be more gentle in their dealings with each other and those those they meet in their daily walk.
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