Stay close to your friend

Tips for Life

by Alan Bailey

One of the greatest things in life is to relate to a special person who is very near and dear. For some, it will be just one friend or loved one, for others, several of that kind. Whatever it is for us, we treasure them as people and cherish their closeness.

But all too often we hear of breakdown. Husband leaves wife, or wife leaves husband. Sons, daughters fall out with parents or in-laws. Relationships have soured. Surely it must be one of the most common personal traumas faced by people today.

No doubt there are many reasons for this. Topping the list are strong disagreements and a lack of understanding both of ourselves and the other person. ‘He/she doesn’t understand me’ we so often hear. Then, when we get down to specifics, we find that couples in particular argue over money, sex, leisure and a host of matters to do with everyday living. Into the mix we see that ‘ego needs’ are not being met but rather the egos are being cruelly mauled in heated exchanges.

We all stand in need
Everyone longs to be loved and wanted. So far, so good. The trouble begins when our own needs dominate. To put it another way, we live self-centredly. Today, there are people everywhere saying inwardly, if not openly, ‘I want … I want … I want…’ and they seem never to be satisfied. It is the day of the individual. Our children learn quickly to be ungrateful and selfish. In fact, they seem to come into the world that way and don’t need much teaching.

As you stand back and look at this scene, it is not hard to see why relationships fracture so readily. Always there must be give and take between friends and lovers. If one or both want to ‘take’ more than ‘give’, something is bound to break open. Life becomes a tug of war, conflicting desires at each end. All of us need to recognise that if we agitate until all our wants are satisfied, we will isolate ourselves from everybody. We were built for relationship.

The giving mode
Perhaps the best thing that can be shared in a brief article is that we need to be aware each day that those close to us rely on us for ego support. That is, we must express our appreciation of them and what they mean to us, think ahead and provide help and encouragement for them.

Old-fashioned values like kindness, thoughtfulness, faithfulness, forgiveness, loyalty and fairness will go a long way. How different from the stabbing and sniping of those who are caught up in a web of self-interest.

What a difference!
Christians have found a great difference in their approach to relationships after having committed their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. They have seen with much thankfulness that God has been good to them, giving them a status they never deserved.

As God’s own children they live with the realisation that they owe all to their Lord and have stopped searching for the answer to their deepest needs.

This then translates into concern for others and a desire to show Jesus and His love and generosity. If it doesn’t happen like this, there is something wrong.

God has something on offer to anyone today: a new life, a new beginning and power to live differently. Why not enter the greatest relationship of all?

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