Me with some of my "true" friends
Tracy Cupples, Robert Cupples, Ms. Ruthie Bryant, & me
God has blessed me with so many "true" friends!
In my mind today, I'm thinking about friends. As Abbey, Ben, and I rushed around yesterday on my errands, we talked about friends. Abbey was sharing her day and of course the "squad" or clique question arose. Girls can especially be vicious when it comes to ostracizing other girls. There's been many a book, movie, and song written about the wrath of females. I am one and don't even understand the phenom behind the viciousness among the female species. Middle and high school tends to be the worst time socially for many girls. It seems to me when you yourself invest in one "squad" or clique, then the greater the chances of being ostracized. My "Dear Abbey" (no pun intended) is to have fluidity. I hear you saying, "Fluidity? We aren't pistons in an engine." Think again. In order to adapt and survive, you need the ability to flux among all cliques. Don't identify with only one but many. Don't limit yourselves to one mold. It's sure to be broken by the pack you choose to solely associate. Why? People, especially females, are fickle. Face it. You also have a lot of growing up to do, too. Your likes and dislikes will change with your hormone levels. You've heard the saying, "Don't fence me in." Well, don't fence yourself in and being kind to everyone is really a two-fold gift. Are all females petty and vindictive? No, of course not but true friends are very hard to find. As I read this morning, this is what I found from Ben Sira:
Pleasant speech multiplies friends,
and gracious lips, friendly greetings.
Let those who are friendly to you be many,
but one in a thousand your confidant.
When you gain friends, gain them through testing,
and do not be quick to trust them.
For there are friends when it suits them,
but they will not be around in time of trouble.
Another is a friend who turns into an enemy,
and tells of the quarrel to your disgrace.
Others are friends, table companions,
but they cannot be found in time of affliction.
When things go well, they are your other self,
and lord it over your servants.
If disaster comes upon you, they turn against you
and hide themselves.
Stay away from your enemies,
and be on guard with your friends.
Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter;
whoever finds one finds a treasure.
Faithful friends are beyond price,
no amount can balance their worth.
Faithful friends are life-saving medicine;
those who fear God will find them.
Those who fear the Lord enjoy stable friendship,
for as they are, so will their neighbors be.
It's hard to believe that something written in the second century BCE is still so pertinent to today. Let me approach the podium and put on my teaching pants for a minute. This is a wonderful model for gaining friends. Why? Which verse? Exactly! Verse 5 tells us to be kind to ALL. What's the ratio of "true" friends? Bingo back row. Glad you're listening. 1:1000 is stated. Do you think this is accurate? Yes, good point. The exaggeration of the point shows symbolism. True friends are hard to find. Students, are there many types of friends? Yes! Each is equipped for different phases and stages of your life. Some are duds, too. Friends, humans, will sometimes let you down but also lift you up. There will be friends disguised as enemies but be brave. It seems Mr. Ben Sira had some bouts with #squad problems himself in 200 BC. I hear my cynics back there saying, "What's the use? It's 2017 and humans are still a mess." Well, read this quote I found. It should be our modus operandi. "Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone's face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions."
It helps pave the way for "true" friends and for you to become a "true" friend. Remember students, it's a two-fold gift. It's as complicated as it is necessary to have a change of heart but oh so worth it. Why? Verses 14, 15, and 16 explain it beautifully, "Faithful Friends are sturdy shelter, beyond price, and life-saving medicine." Friends are one of the reasons I'm still on this side of heaven. Be a "true" friend.
Quote of the Day:
"Friends will fluctuate throughout your earthly adventure, but some will will be with you for eternity. Those are your "true" friends."