I Was Just Thinking About – BEING FRIENDLESS.
I suspect that many of us know people who have made a decision to be alone rather than run the risks often associated with involvement with other people. They carve out a niche for themselves and make that their personal comfort zone. It can also be pointed out that some people can become “different” and have the attitude of “accept me as I am, or just leave me alone.”
When this occurs in the context of what is commonly called The Church, it should be seen as a behavior that is egregious. Why? Because it ignores the prayer intention of Jesus Christ in John 17:11, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” This is reiterated in the instruction of Paul, Ephesians 4:2-3 (NLT), “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”
Another area for consideration pertains to those with varying mood swings. From week to week, it is difficult to know what “mood” is dominant at a given point in one’s life. With some, it is obvious. They tend to be the authority types who desire recognition, whether deserve or not, just so long as they are seen to be “The Leader” within a given group. They may believe they need that recognition without realizing that for many it has a twofold effect: (a) de-motivation, and/or (b) chalking that person off. Allowing one person to believe that it is all about him may feed that one’s ego but it causes the negative behavior of disenfranchisement within the broader group.
A passage that needs consideration when engaged in interpersonal relationships is Proverbs 18:1-2, 24 (NIV): “An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels. Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
What can be done in The Church for the unassuming or disenfranchised person - one who has tried to be a friend to others but has not been accepted? Too many are forced into believing there is no acceptance; no inclusion. Just one more person who begins to believe they are unwanted or unneeded. There is comfort in the words of Jesus who accepts one as His friend (John 15:12-15 - ESV). One can also find joy in in the Hymn by J. Wilbur Chapman (1910), “Jesus! what a Friend for sinners! Jesus! Lover of my soul; Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He, my Savior, makes me whole.”
Prayerfully – consider these things with me!