Many beautiful quotes are on friendship. But I am not a kind of person who simply believes all of them without experiencing it myself. What friends mean to me? Who are my friends? Those questions were looming in my mind, as I was editing an article about friendship for my church’s website.
I believe most of us unconsciously make differences between friends and close friends. To me, friends are those I hang around with. We share common interests, talk about a lot of interesting things and do some activities together. They are friends to me. But I realise that even though they are my friends, it doesn’t necessarily mean I can talk my problems with them.
My close friends, on the other hand, are those whom I can always share with, whom I turn to when I am faced with challenges. Their existences affect me as a person. In other word, I do consider their opinions in decision making, and their lifestyles can easily influence me.
To be honest, I do choose my close friends. I don’t mean to boast, but it is true that you can easily be my friend but not be my close friend. You need to gain my trust to be one. And that’s the reason, I do hurt when I realized those whom I thought close friends were actually not.
What I am saying here is actually the reflection of H2O’s value, Accepting. I accept everyone to be my friends but I don’t accept everyone to be my close friends.
It sounds harsh, huh? But even the bible warns us to choose our friends carefully (Proverbs 12:26). If I translate the verse into my daily life, it says to me that I am supposed to choose my close friends, who can influence me with their thinking and lifestyle.
On the other hand, accepting means to accept everyone inside out. I am learning how to accept everyone completely as my friends. What I mean by inside out here is that I don’t want to smile to a person but I actually curse him or her in my heart.
A word “curse” simply means the opposite of “bless”. If you don’t bless a person, the other only possibility is that you curse that person.
But how about those who do not accept us? Those who are not worth of our acceptance? Do we still have to accept them? What if they even harm us? Stabbed behind our back?
One amazing part of Jesus’ teaching is to love your neighbours, including loving your enemy. Again, if I translate it to my daily life (I’m not a bible scholar though =P), enemy includes those who reject you, those who you thought friends but they had stabbed behind your back, and even those simply hate you for no reasons.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:43)
Now consider why Jesus would want us to love others even if they persecute us! The answer is as simple as to practice God’s love. Weren’t we once God’s enemy? Yet He accepts us! Were we actually worthy of God’s acceptance? No! What do we have to offer when we were living in our sinful lives? Nothing!
We have received love from God, and that should be our power to love others.
Yes, I choose my close friends. But I don’t have a choice to choose my friends. Because by His love, it is enough for us to even love our enemies. He wants me to change my enemy attitude inside me to be a friend attitude.
Yet, when you realise, it is not a mere God’s command. Because to do God’s command, it does take faith. It is by faith that we see God is taking care of everything, including our heart, disappointment and anger. It is by faith that God’s love is able to change our situation, even to change from an enemy to a friend.