July 13, 2007
But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth (NIV)
“I want to quit school!” Oh such delightful words to hear from my twelve-year-old. Growing up is hard to do, especially in those ‘tween years. It turned out my daughter was having problems with her girlfriends. One of her friends had made plans with Hope and then cancelled when a more appealing offer came along from another girl. To me it seemed like a simple sign of immaturity on her friend’s part. But to Hope, it was devastating. So, I hugged her, prayed with her and gave her some tips on dealing with friends when they hurt your feelings.
A few days later she got in the car after school and said, “Mom, I’ve decided you have a choice with your friends. You can either deal with their quirks or stop hanging around them.”
I replied back, “Hope, that is profound wisdom. If you can remember that piece of relationship advice it will serve you well not just for the middle school years but on into your adult friendships as well.”
Do you ever find yourself struggling in your friendships and ponder how you can change those things about your friends that annoy you? Well, changing someone else is nearly impossible and very frustrating. Maybe we would do well to take the focus off of changing this other person and on improving ourselves. Making this subtle shift will allow real progress. Because while you can’t change the way someone else acts and reacts, you can control yourself. Make sure that your actions and reactions are honoring to God and reflecting the types of friendship qualities that you long for in a friend. After all, if we want a really good friend, we have to be a really good friend.
Once you’ve determined to make positive changes in yourself, pray for that friend that has qualities that are less than desirable. Chances are she has a lot of great qualities that you can choose to focus on. Praise God for her good qualities and mentally hand over each thing troubling you in your friendship. God will either give you the patience to love her despite your differences or He will show you how to create a healthy distance that will serve you both well.
Dear Lord, thank you for the precious gift of friendship. Help me to see and appreciate my friend’s good qualities without getting caught up and frustrated with her negative qualities. Lord, give me wisdom to know when to draw boundaries in my friendships and how to choose my friends wisely. My heart desires friendships that characterized by your love. Help me to be the kind of friend I long to have. Thank you for friends with whom I can laugh, learn and journey through life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Sandpaper People by Mary Southerland
Ask God to give you a lifetime friend that characterizes your desires in a friendship. If God has already given you this kind of friend, look for ways to bless her and thank her for her friendship. Let her know that you will stick by her through thick and thin. Look for ways to grow closer together by growing closer to God through praying, studying God’s word, or doing ministry together. Write her a note today that reminds her that she is loved and list all the reasons you appreciate her.
Do you have a friend whose occasional “quirkiness” bothers you? We all have friends that have annoying and often frustrating habits, but we choose to love them and stand by them anyway. God’s Word has a lot to say about friendships gone wrong, but Jesus came to teach us how to love unconditionally and bring unity. Read today’s power verses on what those scriptures tell us.
Proverbs 12:2b, “A righteous man is cautious in friendship.”
Proverbs 12:18, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Ecclesiastes 4:10, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
2 Corinthians , “Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace.”
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 13 July 2007.