Friday, November 13, 2015

True Blue

Not long ago, I was part of a discussion about friends.  What it means to be a good friend, how to be that friend to others, and how important friends are to us.  And as I pondered qualities of true friendship -- encouragement, acceptance, companionship, laughter, confidence, I  kept coming back to this one basic tenet of friendship:

A true friend would never speak ill of you.

That sounds like a fundamental principle of friendship, doesn't it?  But maybe you'll agree that sometimes that isn't how friends treat us at all.  Perhaps you've been hurt by hearing what a friend said about you behind your back. Maybe you've heard through the grapevine that a friend was putting you down.  Or even on the most base level - maybe someone else was maligning you, and your friend didn't stand up for you.

It hurts.

To me, a true friend would NEVER say a negative word about me.  If I've done the craziest thing imaginable -- something with seemingly no plausible explanation, and my actions are wreaking havoc around me, I hope a true friend would still not put me down.  She might seek to find out what happened from me, and maybe speak hard words to me if they were necessary.  But to others?  I hope a true friend would always try to be positive where I am concerned.

Have I always been this true friend I desire to have in others?  Definitely not.  I have most certainly often and frequently hurt others with my words and actions.  I continue to try, try again when I fail.  In a similar vein, years ago I ran across these questions, which I thought were spot on:

Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?

Exactly.  If I am speaking of someone (a friend, an acquaintance, or even a stranger!), I need to remind myself of these questions.  Am I speaking the truth? Am I speaking in kindness?  And the last is just as important - is it necessary?  I often tell my children that someone else's story is not theirs to tell.  Wonderful news of a coworker's new pregnancy?  It is true, and it is kind, but is it necessary?

How do you define a true friend?

A true friend loves at all times.
Provers 17:17a

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