But there's hope. God promises wisdom to those who ask for it. I love Isaiah 40:11, "... He gently leads those that have young." And we have each other. Not to pool our ignorance, but to remind each other of the Truth. To pray for each other. To comfort. I appreciate all of you who have chimed in with your wise words.
If you missed it and you're interested, you can see the first part here.
As I've been thinking about this issue of friendships, and re-reading your helpful comments, I've come to divide my thoughts into three parts. And at the risk of rambling on for way too long, I think I'll post just one part at a time. Besides, if I don't, I'll keep fussing over them. So, inspired by this (off topic) post, I'm labeling them Beta Thoughts. Moving on...
1. How we want the boys to treat others.
Well, that should be obvious, shouldn't it? Nicely.
I think Craig first mentioned James 2:1-5, and I know that is in the forefront of Kerry's mind too. We dont' want to model - or allow the boys to develop - the attitude that people are there to serve our purposes, or that we don't befriend people unless they can benefit us in some way. I think we all know what it feels like to be overlooked or outright rejected by "the in crowd" and we certainly don't want to treat others that way. Besides, in God's eyes that's all upside down anyway, isn't it.
But we want to do better than just being nice. (Though that's a jolly good start!) How about something really radical? Philippians 2:3-4 hits the nail right on the head, "... in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others." Ouch.
So we're working on the one another's. You know...
- love one another
- show mercy and compassion to one another
- encourage one another
- be devoted to one another in brotherly love
- honor one another
- live in harmony with one another
- serve one another
- bear with one another
- be kind and compassionate to one another
- forgive one another
- offer hospitality to one another
Because there is just. no. way.
And in all of that, Kerry and I are on the same page.
Where we differ, things get a little slippery. Kerry is definitely more tender-hearted than I am, much more likely to give people the benefit of the doubt. I'm more motivated to protect my own, you know - that mother bear thing. Which may make me sound more cold-hearted than I hope I actually am. In some ways we're backwards to the stereotype. He leads with his heart and I lead with my head. (Not a sideways insult. Just tellin' it like it is.)
If you picture a scale with compassion at one end and discernment at the other, Kerry leans toward the compassion end and I lean the other way. That's not a snide way of saying he's not discerning, btw, but that we definitely weight those values differently.
But the good news is, they're not mutually exclusive. As several of you have pointed out, there's more than a semantic difference between being a friend and being friends.
So there you go. Part One. Discuss.