Friends Are Rarely
The word Friend, like the word Family, has been romanticized. It evokes idealized images of a perfect world and warm fuzzies for all.
The assumption is, a true friend can only be upright and a friendship can only be good for us. The reality is, again like family, a friendship can sometimes be very bad.
But we can’t allow that possibility to put us in a permanently guarded state. Sometimes the friends we make are the only ones available. They’re in our face, so to speak. We don’t have a choice so we make the best of what’s available.
Imperfect friends and friendships can still be very good. What we must avoid are the extremes.
Defining The Negative Friendship
All friendships have hurtful moments but an abrasion here or there doesn’t make it negative. A friendship becomes negative when it is more hurtful than beneficial over the long haul.
Personality is an issue but not absolutely. A person’s nature is built in and is neither intrinsically good or bad. An idiosyncrasy that irritates some people will endear us to others.
From the examples that follow it is clear that negative is a character issue and that is what spoils the mix.
One reason we gravitate to these not-so-good-for-us friendships is they are like crutches. They reinforce our disabled thinking, and that begs the question. How many people really want to change? How many of us intentionally choose friends because they are good for us and not easy. Having friends who endorse our faults relieves the pressure.
Like the song says . . .
Some of them want to abuse you and some of them want to be abused.
It’s easier to stay as we are, and people who allow that are good for the friendship even if the friendship isn’t good for us.
That’s not how friendships are supposed to work but it does happen.
The truth is Friendship implies Equality, and good ones involve give and take. I wouldn’t say friendships will ever be absolutely equal, or absolutely good for us, but there should be a balance.
The following emotionally unbalanced extremes are ones we should avoid. Read more
No One Is Automatically
A Friend Or Enemy
Not Even Family
It’s very easy to think of friends and family as two different things. We inherit family and we choose friends, but can they migrate? Can one ever be the same as the other?
The Bible mentions three different categories of individuals other than family:
- Everyone else in between
But the relationships we have with people are dynamic. No one is born a Friend or Enemy. Instead everyone starts out in the middle, neutral, and then moves one way or the other. We might illustrate it like this:
Family is not represented on this graph and rightly so. No family member automatically fits into any one of these categories. There’s overlap as the following illustration shows.
Obviously, we tend to think of family members as “like” friends, but are they really?
We also never associate family with enemies even when the comparison is justified. Read more
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Because “Tithing” enjoys a long history in Scripture – Genesis to Hebrews – it deserves serious consideration by every thoughtful individual and Tithing For Today provides the rationale to answer such questions as:
- Did Jesus (and Paul) eliminate tithing or reinforce it philosophically?
- Did Jesus eliminate the “Law” or just the curse?
- Does corruption countermand tithing?
- Should our giving be by budget or whim?
- If we tithe on net income which “net” are we talking about?
And more. The author’s hope is the book will give you plenty to think about.
God Uses Illness
To Heal Us
In Different Ways
Mention John chapter 11 and most people think of Resurrection. No surprise there. The chapter records Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and most sermons on that chapter focus mostly on that event. It’s the dominant topic. It’s hard to study the chapter and not think about resurrection but it’s also obvious. Maybe there is something else in the chapter we should look for.
If we poke the context a little other lessons might surface. Read more