The love we give in this life is the only thing that can truly belong to us for eternity. – Jocelyn SorianoThere are times when we start to ask ourselves, “What is the worth of my life? What do I possess now to prove that something has happened and that my life has not been in vain?”
We then look towards our achievements or our status in life, and we start to compare it with what other people have. More often than not however, this kind of thinking just makes us feel worse. It makes us feel that if we don’t have a lot to show, we have not lived well. We feel empty as though nothing good has ever happened in our lives.
But if we start to see things through the lens of eternity, we may start to wonder deeper. What are the things that really matter anyway?
"The first time you say something, it's heard. The second time, it's recognized, and the third time it's learned" - John C. Maxwell
Influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself. Someone said once that, "your life will be a sum total of the books you read and the friends you keep."
In any relationship you experience either of the following:
(a) CORRUPTION: "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners, and "...a companion of fools shall be destroyed." Or,
(b) PROMOTION: "He that walks with wise men shall be wise."
If you do not desire the influence someone will bring into your life, then do not make them your friend because, like it or not, FRIENDSHIP IS INFLUENCE. Have you noticed how an individual enters a new neighborhood and after sometime he begins to speak with their accent? That is called "Influence". As long as you fraternize with people, you must gradually begin to dress like them, talk like them, behave like them, and think like them.
As a young boy I grew up in a poor neighborhood in Nsukka. Violence, crime and drugs were a very common sight. It was therefore only natural for people to very early in life find themselves lost in alcohol and smoking even when they know it was a very dangerous path to follow in life, but it was reality. I particularly wondered then why people loved smoking even when they could still attest to the fact that that stuff was so bitter in the mouth. But because they needed to belong and all their friends smoked so who are they to change the rules?
How would I flow with my guys if I didn't do what they did? It took a lot from me to resist it.
The story is told of a father of five who came home with a toy; he summoned his children and asked which one should be given the present. "Who is the most obedient, never talks back to mom and does everything he or she is told to do?" He inquired. There was silence, and then a chorus of voices: "You can play with it daddy!"
Respect is a fast disappearing culture in this century even amongst families. And it is worse amongst friends . It was Charles de Gaulle who said, “There can be no prestige without mystery, for familiarity breeds contempt.”
One of the top 3 destroyers of friendships anywhere in the world is the Lack of Respect arising from over-familiarity. Jason Zebehazy wrote, " Distance makes the heart grow fonder, and familiarity breeds contempt. According to this my soulmate should be in Thailand.”
"A doubtful friend is worse than a certain enemy. Let a man be one thing or the other, and we then know how to meet him." - Aesop.
In the real world, there is no such thing as a self-sufficient, super-capable superman, who tied his own boot strap and succeeded by his own personal efforts. We all need someone to succeed. We all need someone to lend us his shoulder for us to climb to our next level. It is called affirmation. No great man could succeed without it. It always takes the affirmation of another great man.
When was the last time a friend got a job, passed an exam, secured a favour, got a break through or survived a difficult time in life because of you. As Arnold H. Glasow puts it, "A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down" Can you keep the secrets of a friend especially after you ceased being friends? Unfortunately in life "The shifts of fortune test the reliability of friends." It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said "When friendships are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest things we can know."
Using F.R.I.E.N.D.S.H.I.P as an acronym in the next couple of days let me share with you on the Laws of friendship.
F= FOCUS: FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN GIVE TO THE FRIENDSHIP, NOT ON WHAT THE FRIENDSHIP CAN GIVE TO YOU. The first law of love is GIVE, not TAKE.
As humans we are all naturally selfish. We all need someone to love us, care for us, encourage us and fight for us. And quite honestly there is nothing wrong with desiring all these, except that, imagine that both you and your friend came into the relationship to TAKE all these and more from the other. Naturally, you will soon be tearing at each other's throat demanding for your own portion of love, care etc. But imagine that you both came to GIVE all that and more. Soon there will be abundance of love, care etc. and because both of you are trying to out give the other, the relationship is constantly enriched and overflowing in love, care etc. The truth, however, is that like life itself, (where to live, you must GIVE OUT carbon dioxide and TAKE IN oxygen) so in friendship we must both give and RECEIVE (not DEMAND) whilst we FOCUS on our primary responsibility on what we BRING to the table. To enter a relationship with the goal to TAKE is the almighty formula for disappointments, heart breaks and self pity. You are hanging your joy on a man like you and the arms of flesh will fail you.
|Be A Good Friend!|
Friendship is a powerful aspect of the human existence. No man is poor who has friends, and no man is rich who does not have friends. But, of course the meaning of friendship may differ from person to person and culture to culture. In recent times, people are moving towards social isolation. People now work from their homes; most people shop online; others have their goods delivered at their doors. We now bank online and get enough entertainment on cable. We no longer create opportunities to cultivate social skills; people now live in loneliness and emptiness. But the truth is we are created for friendships. As the popular sage goes, "No man is an island".
A man came home to find his house in disarray, he proceeded to the bedroom to find his wife frantically pulling drawers and throwing things all over the room. "What's going on honey?" he asked "I can't find it," she replied. "Can't find what?" the confused husband asked but the woman didn't reply. She kept on throwing things around. The man walked over to her and gripped her shoulders. "Look at me. Look at me." The woman burst into tears. "Calm down. Take a deep breath, breathe". The woman stopped sobbing and looked into her husband's eyes. "What are you looking for?" he asks calmly. "I can't send holiday greetings to our friends," she said amidst sobs. "Why not? Don't you do that every year?" the husband asked. "No, not that," the wife said in frustration. "I can't find the card list" "the card list?" the still confused husband asks "I don't know who our friends are without it. Do you?" The man looked away thoughtfully and took a beep breath, "well then, send to only our parents, at least we remember who they are."
It is never those who boast that draws our hearts. It is never those who are proud.
But we are drawn to those who never think too highly of themselves. Those who can always seem to think of something good in others around them.
It is not lack of confidence. It isn’t low self-esteem.
But it is in a soul that doesn’t even need to lift oneself up or to gain the regard of others. It is in that kind of confidence that doesn’t even need to think of oneself too often or too much.
Instead of focusing on themselves, they are intent on finding the good in others, too. They are keen to see their beauty.
They are those who are not afraid to praise other men, those who are not afraid to admit that someone can be better in this or that skill, or in this or that virtue.
Love occupies their hearts so much that there isn’t room for that kind of fear. What’s present is much room for thanksgiving and appreciation, and much room indeed for trust in God from whom all good things come from.
Here is your harvest. To believe oneself imperfect and others perfect – this is true happiness. Should earthly creatures think you devoid of holiness, they rob you of nothing, and you are none the poorer: it is they who lose. For is there anything more sweet than the inward joy of thinking well of our neighbor? – St. Therese of Lisieux
Evil can never truly create something good. All it can accomplish is to destroy what is valuable. It tends to corrupt what is pure. It goes forth to darkness and to its own destruction.
To be able to create something good and beautiful is always a power that comes from love. When we love, we overflow in joy and in every sort of goodness. This goodness overflows and extends beyond ourselves. It seeks to express itself, to communicate its affection, and to render all things capable of receiving the same light it has found.
For by him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and for him. – Colossians 1:16, WEB