Sunday, August 10, 2014

How to Grow a Friendship

“Be careful of who you pick as a friend. Most people pretend to listen but are only gathering information to judge you with” ~ Author Unknown
August 3rd was National Friendship Day. I discovered this quote on Facebook a few days after and thought it was appropriate for the celebration of friendships (which should be celebrated every day if you have great friends). True friends listen, but they don’t judge. They accept you for who you are, and they don’t share your shortcomings with others. This reminds me of Noah and his sons. Unfortunately, one day Noah drank so much wine he became drunk. At some point, Noah took off all his clothes. Noah’s son Ham saw him in his nakedness, and he told his two brothers, Shem and Japheth. But Shem and Japheth did what was honorable: They covered their father’s nakedness but did it while their heads were turned. In essence, they did not gather information for which to judge their father (Genesis 9: 21-23).

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate” ~ Rick Warren
Being a true friend doesn’t mean you condone or condemn what friends do. Neither does being a true friend mean you give friends an ultimatum if they don’t agree with you. True friends allow you to have your own convictions, and they don’t fear or hate you because of them.

“Make sure everybody in your ‘boat’ is rowing and not drilling holes when you’re not looking. Know your circle” ~
True friends are rare, so be careful who you call your friend. Social media has distorted the definition of friends. Some people even take pride in how many friends they have on social media, but most of these friends are mere acquaintances, and some may even be strangers. A familiar proverb points out the importance of a true friend: “. . . there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). True friends are like family. They help you row the boat instead of working behind your back to sink it.

“6+3=9 but so does 5+4. The way you do things is not always the only way to do them. Respect other people’s way of thinking” ~
Friends respect your differences. They agree to disagree, and they don’t let it affect the friendship. Friends don’t have to get their way all the time. They take turns deciding what movies to go see and in what restaurants to dine.

Some of my closest friends are friends I have had since childhood. We are friends because we don’t judge each other, we don’t have to compromise our convictions to please each other, we help row each other’s boats, and we respect each other’s differences.

How have true friends influenced your life? This is the story in you. Share it.

Domonique White

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