Friday, August 8, 2014

Relationships With Our Friends

     "The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."-Mark 12:31

     The teen years are full of ups and downs. Though I have never experienced anything past these years, I can't help but expect the same for the rest of my life. However, one of the things that is especially difficult in the teen years is maintaining friendships. Everyone is changing. Whether it be movie preferences or personalities, these years are spent growing and changing into adults. Sometimes we outgrow our friends, and sometimes, very rarely unfortunately, our friends last several years. So how do we maintain these relationships? How do we make sure that our friendships don't fall apart? That's what I'll be discussing today.

     When we are friends with someone, it's typically because we share something in common, and sadly when we realize that we no longer have something in common with that person, the relationship slowly fades away. Now, what does this have to do with us? It sounds like because we are always changing, we cannot help this. This is not true. If we stay true to our faith and become friends with people who are also strong in the faith, if neither of you waver from that then you will always have something in common. Not only that but as Christians we are told to love one another and to put others before ourselves. If everyone did that, wouldn't the world be such a wonderful place?

     "But I want to make friends with people in the world so that I can lead them to Christ!" Well, leading people to Christ is important, but it's more important to make sure they don't drag you down with them. When a doctor goes to see a highly contagious patient with a deadly disease, do you think he's just going to go in to see them without bringing a mask or making sure there's no way he can catch the disease? Yes he's healthy when he goes in, but that doesn't mean that he can't or won't catch the disease that his patient has. Before we help someone, we have to make sure that we separate ourselves from them. Not enough so that we can't help them, but just enough so we aren't pulled into temptation with them.

     Another way to make sure your relationships last is to treat your friends with love and respect. I don't know about y'all, but I am a very sarcastic person. Now, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with sarcasm, but if one of your friends isn't used to sarcasm and they don't quite get it, it can be misunderstood as harshness. You have to know your friends, and be aware. Also, just as a side note, please try not to be sarcastic through text message. It never works out well in the end. We have to be aware of our friends and their preferences and their needs. We have to make sure they know where we are coming from so we aren't misunderstood as being rude.

     Finally, we just need to outright love our friends. 1 Corinthians 13 talks a lot about it, and all the characteristics of it. If you haven't read it, I have an article about it that I posted back a couple months ago, and you an see it if you click here. I'd like to encourage you all to consider this, and think about your friendships. Friendship is too wonderful and rare a thing to completely neglect it. And this doesn't only work with friendships. This works with every relationship we will have. Today I would like to encourage you all to take a look at who your friends are, and how you treat them. Do you treat them with love? Do you treat them with respect? Do you treat them with kindness? These are questions we should always be asking ourselves about our relationships, and I would like to encourage you all to do so.