We find the words “You shall love your neighbor as yourself…”
in Leviticus 19:18 and Matthew 19:19.
It is a command.
It is a statement of truth.
We will love others with the same standard and quality of love that we love ourselves.
To be a friend we have to be made of the stuff that friends are made. Too often friendships seem to be beyond our reach and we think it is because of things “out there” rather than things ‘in here’.
Here is a simple quiz to help identify some FRIENDSHIP BUSTERS.
Negative Self Talk
1. I must have everyone’s love and approval.
2. I am not worthy of love.
3. If people knew what I was really like…
1. You can have it all.
2. Life should be fair.
3. Your value is in what you do (or have, or how you look , etc.)
Shallow Religious Talk
1. A good Christian doesn’t feel anxious or depressed or even have problems.
2. All of the problems, disappointments and suffering I experience are the result of my sins.
3. God will not use me if I make mistakes. God is disappointed in me.
Why are these personal issues FRIENDSHIP BUSTERS?
Because they are the way we value life. If we see ourselves by these negative standards, it will color and distort how we see and value others. If we are negative thinkers, then we will relate to others in the same way.
- If we see life’s goals as only about ourselves, we will use people and assume that they only want to use us.
- If life is suppose to be fair (which usually means that it always goes in my favor), then we will think we deserve the good and blame others for the bad.
- When we beat ourselves up (even if we do not admit it to others) because of mistakes, we will be equally brutal to others who also fail.
Healthy “self-love” is this:
“For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Rom. 12:3
* Don’t think too high – arrogance
* Don’t think too low – self-pity
Would you want you for a friend?
Give your friends the best gift of all – the benefits of healthy self-love.
Be the kind of person you would like to spend time with, instead of trying to make better friends [either with new people or by trying to “fix” the ones you already have]. Give up negative self-talk and:
- See yourself clearly as God sees you – good and bad – but worthy of love and investment of time and energy.
- Have sound judgment about what really matters and really doesn’t!
- Let faith be the measure, of the friendship – what can God do in this persons life through me?
Be that better friend!
Dr. Bill Heston
Howard Payne University
Dr. William Heston was minister of pastoral care at Houston’s First Baptist Church; clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and a marriage therapist licensed by the state of Texas. He has also led seminars at First Place Conferences.