Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Friendships

There are no strangers here; only friends you haven't yet met. -Yeats

Relationships inevitably evolve with time. But I had no idea that the way we form relationships can also change as we change. I care more about what I should and less about what I shouldn't, to put it simply. Acknowledging that people's judgements stem from their own insecurities has helped. But realizing that most people are looking for sincere friendships (or needing them) has influenced my interactions with new acquaintances even more.

We can assume that our neighbor doesn't say hello because they don't like us. But that's cynical. Maybe they're just really shy. (I'm slowly learning to give people the benefit of the doubt.)

I assumed this about a neighbor once. Then I decided to randomly, and rather loudly ;), strike up a conversation from across the street because I stopped caring about what they could offer me. Thankfully, it worked. It turns out that neighbor is kind and just reserved.

Then I wonder what other relationships I might be missing out on as a result of my negative assumptions and selfish expectations.

Though this isn't completely enlightening, I'm learning that I need to be the friend I'd want, and without the favoritism. But it goes beyond that. Being only that kind of friend would be selfish. True friendship is grounded in sacrifice. Putting someone else's needs before our own; loving like God loves us.

If someone lonely is struggling spiritually and they aren't able to be the kind of friend that I want, who am I to keep my friendship from them just because they cannot uplift me? Respect in friendships is a must, yes. But not being someone's friend simply because they don't meet your expectations of what a great/spiritually uplifting/well-rounded "kindred spirit" should be doesn't mean they don't have the potential, or even the need for that kind friendship from you.

John 15:13 There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friend.

I'm finding that verse applies to more than our physical life. It also applies to our daily interactions with strangers/potential friends.

Friendship is the ministry we are all called to. It doesn't require a PhD or red cape.

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