Good Tuesday Friends,
Today I have a challenge for you, give one or two attributes of a “true friend”, A friend is… I hope to collect lots of adjectives and then put then string them together to create a collaborative definition, so please go ahead and participate just give me one word or adjective and you can know you’ve contributed to a revolution!! This morning we’ll take a look at an aspect of friendship that the wisdom writer seems to elude to, a virtue that is crucial to relationships and that is this virtue of carefulness.
Here are a few places we see this in the Proverbs…
Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, “I was only joking!”
If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.
Now concerning the aspect of carefulness in friendship consider these statements… Why does a man, deceive his neighbor and say, “I was only joking”? Why does a man loudly bless his neighbor in the morning? It’s an indication of this persons emotional disconnectedness, they don’t know your innermost, your inner topography enough to know that this joke actually hurts you. They don’t know enough about the kind of morning person you are or lack thereof to know what they should or shouldn’t do in the morning. Or even more intensely, Like one who takes a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
What is this saying? Singing songs to a heavy heart? The word song here means a song of joy, that’s a real emotional disconnection. I could be happy when you are sad. If I could be happy when you are sad, you are not my friend. I’m not your friend.
Someone has put it this way, “here’s the essence of parenting, once you start to have children you realize for the rest of your life you’re only as happy as your unhappiest child.”
For rest of your life your only as happy as your unhappiest child. Why? Because automatically whether you want to or not, you are emotionally connected, you are emotionally vulnerable, you can’t sing songs when their hearts are heavy. It just can’t happen.
Here’s what so amazing and scary about friendship. In friendship, you give the gift of emotional connection voluntarily. See here’s how you can tell whether you really let that person become your friend or that person’s really your friend, they can’t go about singing songs when you are heavy hearted. They can’t, go about their job when you are collapsing. For a friend to do that is an amazing gift! A voluntary gift, they’ve chosen to help take on your pain with you! That’s one of the reasons you can’t have too many friends because its just emotionally too much to do this for more than 2 or 3 people. A “real friend” creates that emotional connection as a gift and as a result is unbelievably emotionally sensitive to you. Knows how you are feeling and is committed to your emotional flourishing because he or she cannot flourish without your emotional flourishing as well. (Thanks Timothy Keller)
Don’t forget to post your one or two word descriptors of a “true friend”… I’d love to come up with a collaborative definition!