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Thursday, January 5, 2012

What NOT to do

        Ok...this blog is a little different than what I typically have been throwing at you.  It’s about friendship.  It’s about being there for someone when they need you.
Ask yourself this....Have you ever had a friend in crisis?  Didn’t really know how to react, what to say or do for them?  Yeah, I’d bet we’ve all been there and could really use some pointers on what to do in those situations.  Unfortunately I don’t have any straight forward answers, but I do have some insight into what NOT to do and how to learn from that.  These “what not to do” moments of clarity have come from personal experiences and can also be found abundantly in a rather popular, NY Times bestselling book a lot of people like to call The Bible.  More specifically the Book of Job.
Ok, here’s the scenario (which can be found in Chapters 1 and 2 of Job).  There’s this guy named....well...Job.  Job lost everything:  livestock, family, even his health (and that isn’t necessarily in order of importance).   So, Job has these friends, right?  These “friends” decide they are going to give him some advice, try to cheer him up, you know…a little friendly intervention.   Now, I’m sure that in their minds these friends had good intentions and all, but boy were they hitting the head of that nail just a bit left of center.   Without a doubt, these friends had a questionable view of friendship and I’m not even going to mention their excruciating lack of tactfulness…ok, maybe I am.  They really needed a little sensitivity training.
So these friends are “cheering” him up, but it seems to me that they made a couple of mistakes in their attempt to do so.  Their first mistake was one we all make at times.  They assumed they could relate to Job’s losses.  AS IF!  I mean, this guy just lost EVERYTHING.  Not just his home, not just a child, not just a part of his health ALL OF THESE THINGS…..EVERYTHING….and these friends acted as if they understood.  I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t know how Job felt.  I wouldn’t even be able to begin to imagine how it would feel to lose everything.
On top of that, they made light of his pain.  Seriously?!?!  These friends tell Job that if he would just repent to God then maybe he would be vindicated.  Wow.  Really???  So essentially they were just telling Job that they KNEW he had to have done SOMETHING to bring this upon himself.  What kind of friends were these people?  They may as well have just said “Job, stop lying.  You know you screwed up, just admit it so God will forgive you already.” 
Is this something you’d want YOUR friends to say to you?  Yeah, me neither.  If I had been Job, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t consider any of them a friend after all this. 
Which brings me to the timeless phrase: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”   I would dare say they are words to live by…well in my house they are words to live by (I find myself sounding like a broken record repeating them to my kids sometimes), in my Mom’s house they were words to live by and in homes the world over I’d be willing to bet (if I were a betting kind of gal) that they are words to live by.  That many Moms can’t possibly be wrong, can they? aren’t allowed to answer that for another 15-20 years.
It all comes down to this…as friends we will never be perfect.  After all, we ARE human.  However, we CAN treat our friends the way we would want them to treat us in a similar situation.  With love, compassion, understanding and a strong dose of sensitivity.  There will be times when we are faced with a friend who is suffering, a friend who is hurting, a friend who has lost something or someone and maybe we can’t truly relate.  Maybe we can’t know how they really feel…but we can be there for them.  We can pray for them and with them.  We can show them the kind of love that God shows us when we need comfort and understanding.  Take a lesson from Job’s friends (a what NOT to do lesson, that is) and do for that friend what you would want a friend to do for you.  Making the world a better place really only starts with one small act of kindness.

Thoughts for the day:
How come Superman can stop bullets with his chest but he always ducks when someone throws a gun at him?

Before they invented drawing boards what did they go back to?

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