“Solid relationships keep us grounded and accountable. If we start to get off course they help keep us on track. So who are the significant people in your life, the ones you spend the most time with, the ones whose opinions really matter to you? These people are your greatest influencers. The question is, how are they influencing you? To know the answer, ask yourself the following questions:
(1) What does he/she bring out of me? Author William Alan Ward remarked, "A true friend knows your weaknesses, but shows you your strengths. Feels your fears, but fortifies your faith. Sees your anxieties, but frees your spirit. Recognises your disabilities, but emphasises your possibilities."
(2) What does he/she think of my future? People tend to become what the most important person in their lives believes they can be. Indeed, that's what our children grow up to be! We embrace the opinions of those we respect.
(3) What does he/she think of my future? Paul tells Timothy, "Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young" (1 Ti 4:12 NLT). Do the most important people in your life understand God's plan for you? Do they help or hinder you?
(4) How does he/she behave toward me in difficult times? The solid relationships in your life are those who are slow to suspect, but quick to trust. Slow to condemn, but quick to justify. Slow to offend, but quick to defend. Slow to expose, but quick to shield. Slow to reprimand, but quick to forbear. Slow to belittle, but quick to appreciate. Slow to demand, but quick to give. Slow to provoke, but quick to help. Slow to resent, but quick to forgive.”
I think this is a great article (otherwise I wouldn’t be sharing it with you now,) but I can’t help but read it in its opposite form. This article has given us some questions to ask when assessing others as friends that can positively influence us. But what about asking ourselves these very same questions in assessing whether we are a positive or negative influence on others first?
So often we look to others to make not only the first move, but also each and every move, don’t we? And maybe just maybe, it is time some of us took the initiative and made that first move, Hey?
Instead of asking, “What does he/she bring out of me?” Let us ask, “What do I bring out of them?
Instead of asking, “What does he/she think of me? Let us ask, ““What do I really think of them?
Instead of asking, “What does he/she think of my future? Let us ask, “What do I think of their future?”
Instead of asking, “How does he/she behave toward me in difficult times? Let us ask, “How do I behave toward them in difficult times?”
When we honestly answer these questions, we will know what sort of friends we really are, won’t we? Before we can honestly assess the friendships of others, we really need to assess our own first don’t we? So my closing query today is, “How good a friend are you really, to your friends?”