I had an interesting experience with someone that has really made me think about my behavior. I was recently trying to be very nice to someone & it wasn’t working. This person was responding with very rude behaviors & comments. Because they were acting so poorly, I wanted to be mean back & express that I was really displeased with their words & actions. I started to think about my behavior & suddenly I was confronted w the truth that I was being manipulative. I was trying to control the other person’s behavior by being nice rather than just being a genuinely nice because that’s who I am.
So here’s the quick conclusion: let’s be nice because we are nice people & not for the purpose of controlling another person’s behavior. Dear friends, let’s be nice because we are nice & not because we’re manipulative 🙂
When I was growing up, I used to complain to my parents about not having any friends – it was partly true, because I wasn’t a very friendly person. Nevertheless, my parents would always encourage me that I had lots of friends & they were always very affirming on this topic. Here are some other pearls of wisdom they taught me in relation to friendships:
- diversity is good – its good to have lots of different kinds of friends: smart, funny, healthy, beautiful, chubby, witty, deep, seasonal, insightful, superficial, . . . . . Diversity is the spice of life!
- in order to have friends, we must be friendly: smile, be forgiving, generous, seeking to understand
- be more concerned about being interested rather than interesting: listening can be a timeless gift
- a friendship isn’t merely about what you can get out of the relationship, but also what you can give
- don’t be disappointed because someone is unable to give something you want in a friendship – maybe they don’t have that skill set or ability, just like you also have some shortcomings
- give the benefit of the doubt: don’t assign malicious intent
- no one person can be your everything in life – this expectation is unhealthy & ultimately idolatrous
- be the friend you would like to have 🙂
- forgive, forgive, forgive & be prepared to continue forgiving
I’ve been thinking about love & its various expressions as they relate to different relationships (kids, parents, mates, friends, etc). In my thinking, I’ve also been considering not only what love is, but also what love is not & here are some take aways I’ve been considering. Love is not:
- selfish – hence my tweet from a few days ago about love making decisions in the best interests of the recipient & not merely the giver of love
- inconsistent – love is stable & as such, doesn’t merely function in the realm of feelings
- hateful, malicious, evil, cruel or sadistic
- apathetic – this word comes from the greek meaning to lack feeling or passion (a-pathy). Perhaps indifference is more deadly than guns, bombs & knives
- egocentric or prideful – maybe these would be synonyms with selfish
These are some interesting observations, but what is more important than observation is application. I know that I want to love well & authentically, but I get frustrated with myself because I fail. It is exactly these frustrations, among other things, that cause me to turn to God because God is love. I turn to God to live in a deeper relationship with Him so that He can love others more authentically through me.
Christmas can sometimes be an expensive holiday, depending on how you celebrate it. Given the economy this year, along with the employment situation for many of my friends, I thought I’d suggest a gift that doesn’t require money but is thoroughly invaluable to not only the receiver but also to you the person giving the gift. Interested to know what you can give that’s expensive but doesn’t cost money?
See, here’s the deal: we all have people in our lives that need our forgiveness. Whether its the jerk that cut you off when you’re driving or the very hurtful remark someone said to you at work. Or maybe you’ve been hurt by something your mate said to or about you without thinking of the sting it has left in you. Maybe someone did something to you in your childhood that still affects you to this day. The truth is, no one has to look hard for opportunities to forgive – our life is full of such opportunitites every day.
So this Christmas, let’s give others the gift of forgiveness – to let go.
- Forgiveness is given when we don’t remind the person of their shortcoming.
- Forgiveness is given when we speak kind words without sarcasm (or do our best to be pleasant)
- Forgiveness is given when we want what is in the offenders best interest (and not the getting even approach)
- Forgiveness is given when we don’t have to always make the offender know that we’re forgiving them
I think that many of us don’t do the forgiveness because it takes alot of work & its much less work to not forgive, especially at the beginning of an offense. But i’ve found that the longer i hold onto an offense, the harder it is to let it go & the more drained i become from maintaining the offense.
So be generous this season without spending alot of money 🙂
Give the gift of forgiveness & go into the new year with greater freedom and liteness of being 🙂