What If We Treated Our Friends This Way?
“Maybe I just need to accept that I’m a hyper-sensitive artistic type and super needy.” The statement flew out of my mouth as naturally as my first name. When the friend I was talking to fell silent, I immediately wanted to take my words back. I’d done it again—labeled myself, put myself down. Her silence spoke louder than what she could have said: That kind of talk is not at all attractive you know. Why do you do that?
I have no idea. But at that moment I heard how ugly it sounded. Yuck! Stop it! Do you talk to your friends that way?
“Love your neighbor as yourself . . .” (from Matthew 12:31).
What if we did that? I mean really.
As my writing prayer partner and I agreed this week, if we treated our friends the way we treat ourselves sometimes, we wouldn’t have many friends at all.
If someone I care about is upset or shares a personal struggle with me, do I slap a label on her?
If I know she is sensitive in certain areas, do I list all the reasons why she’s being silly and tell her to toughen up?
If, as soon as a friend saw me, she teared up and reached out for a hug, would you think, Oh my gosh, she’s so needy! What is her problem? Would I peel her off of me as quickly as possible?
If a creepy guy hit on my friend in public, would I laugh and say, “Get used to it! You’re a freak magnet!”
Would I call a friend a dork? Do I point out every flaw and extra pound? Would I blast her mercilessly for making a mistake? If she had the courage to ask a question or speak up, would I make her feel stupid or treat her like a pest? Do I roll my eyes over friends’ ideas, opinions, or the sight of their numbers on Caller ID? If someone’s hair and the weather don’t get along on a particular day, am I unable to go on until she tames “the wild beast”?
No way to all of the above! At least I hope I wouldn’t!
So why do I do these things to myself, or picture others doing/saying them?
“Love your neighbor as yourself . . .” That’s my new goal. Or maybe it should be, “Love yourself as you love your neighbor.” Because I am much nicer to them! So much!
How do you treat others? How do you treat yourself? Why not take on my challenge: When you’re tempted to be mean to yourself, ask, “Do I talk to my friends this way?”“Love your neighbor as yourself . . .” (from Matthew 12:31). What if we did that? I mean really. Click To Tweet