“Mommy, when I become someone’s friend, I am their friend forever,” my daughter imploringly told me with a catch in her voice and tears clouding her bright blue eyes.
My heart hurt for her as I listened to her share about one of her close friends not wanting to play with her anymore. And the mamma bear nearly came out in me as I watched my little girl run up to her little friend each morning excitedly asking her if she would like to play at recess only to be told “let me think about it and let you know.” Unfortunately, day after day, the answer was always no.
I have to admit there was many a day I wanted to jump right in and fix it (one way or another), but with God’s help and all the restraint I could muster, I didn’t intervene. And I’m so glad I didn’t, for it became a teachable moment for my daughter and for me—an opportunity to really explore how to handle ourselves when things go awry in this beautiful yet messy thing called friendship.
Interestingly enough, I had been walking and catching up with a neighbor friend at that time who shared with me some things she had learned at a leadership conference—one of them being the Be-Do-Have approach to business. Later, as I thought about that conversation, God began to show me how to implement those three powerful words into my daughter’s situation. Here’s what we learned:
- Instead of focusing on HAVING friends, we need to be more concerned with BEING a friend. We want to be that friend that sharpens, encourages and cheers others on (Proverbs 27:17). We need to commit to being a friend at ALL times (Proverbs 17:17) —not just through the fun and happy times but through the good, the bad, and the ugly, for love never fails (I Corinthians 13:8).
- We need to always DO our part to make things right. This is done when we go to the person to work things out, but it also involves doing what Scripture tells us to do in Matthew 5:44 when dealing with conflict:
- Love your enemies.
- Bless those who curse you.
- Do good to those who hate you.
- Pray for those who spitefully use you.
- As my daughter and I applied this verse, we found it was pretty hard to stay upset at someone when you pray for them faithfully, for prayer has a way of softening hearts and breaking down walls.
- Rather than obsessing over how we have been hurt or rejected, CELEBRATE who we HAVE all around us. There are always opportunities to pour into others and be a blessing, but we must CHOOSE to do so.
In case you are wondering, my daughter’s situation ended beautifully because she made the choice to see opportunities that she had right in front of her and as a result, reconnected with a sweet friend and made two new beautiful friendships.
Oh, and let me just say that God has such a sense of humor and impeccable timing. Today (on the very day that I wrote this blog) my daughter’s little friend came up to my daughter out of the blue after school and apologized for not playing with her and promised to play with my daughter and her friends tomorrow. Amazing how prayer changes things, huh? Here’s the best part of all—regardless of whether the friend plays with her or not, we have learned it’s going to be alright because of the lessons we have learned in this whole process and the choice to implement three simple words—BE-DO-HAVE.
The reality is whether we are 8 or 43 (yes, I’m referring to myself), we all want to be loved, appreciated, and valued by others. We all want to matter. And sometimes friendship which can so wonderfully enhance our lives can also bitterly disappoint us when it fails to meet our hopes and expectations. But as my daughter and I worked through this whole friendship drama, we were reminded that there is a FOREVER FRIEND who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24) and who has promised NEVER to leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5b) and who will meet our EVERY need. In fact, He loves us so fiercely that He even gave His life for us. And because of that, we can CELEBRATE that in Him there is no greater friend!
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” ~John 15:13