“Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.” Psalms 119:79
Over the last 7-8 years I have worked very hard at building friendships in the city we moved to in Brazil. It was difficult to move to such a cold area of Brazil and not know a single soul, so I would strike up conversations wherever I found myself around other people.
The only way to get to know, really know, a culture and language that is not your own is to consistently mingle and converse with the locals. You pick up the regional dialect and the customs of how things are done a lot quicker by talking to those who live in proximity than you do trying to figure it out on your own.
Eventually I began making aquaintences and would repeat visits to certain stores located down certain streets where I would be sure to run into someone I knew. Now, all these years later, I have a wealth of good friends there in our little city of Lages and over time people learned that I was your average Joe and I even made buddies out in the rural communities.
But, a year ago I found out something that almost hurt my feelings.
I had begun to hold Bible studies and ladies meetings in town and in our home as our congregation grew. Our church ladies would often invite their friends and relatives and our meetings were full of the unsaved as well as those from other religions. I never discriminated. It has been a GREAT tool for me to witness and speak TRUTH to those who didn’t know or were confused about what the Bible actually says about Jesus Christ and Salvation. Some came because they thought it would be advantageous to their social status if they made friends with the “American”, but of course they got to know me and realized I wasn’t a person of wealth or fame, so those ladies moved on to other things. (Oh well! LOL). But many have returned with us on countless occasions and heard a clear presentation of the Gospel.
Now, here is the part that hurt me: One of the ladies who would regularly attend was from another denomination in town and her church was rather affluent. She, however, was very laid back, like me, so we became friends (or so I thought). She is saved and I believe loves the Lord. I enjoyed her company and eventually I met her family and elderly mother. And, even though I never attended her church or meetings, she would always bring folks to our special get togethers. In my mind, she saw me the way I saw her…but I was mistaken.
One lady from her church came to dinner with us after attending a Sunday service to hear my husband preach. We were talking over our food at a local restaurant when she announced to us about how sad she was that this other lady was not present. I agreed with her and voiced my sentiments about how much I enjoyed getting to know her family over the last year. She looked at me kind of funny, waited for me to finish and then patted my hand. I thought that was a little odd until she told me (and everyone else at the table) how the other lady really didn’t care for me. Apparently, she felt like I was too odd for her. (Wait…..WHAT??)
Here I thought we were friends! Guess I was wrong! LOL She had told her ladies group at their church (which is rather large) that she just didn’t seem to hit it off with Pastor Mark’s wife. (SPLAT <——that is the sound my heart made in my chest as I listened)
Now, whether the lady who told me should have brought any of this up is not the subject today. The point I am making is that, we ALL want to be liked, especially by those who are saved and love the Lord. It is uncomfortable to find out someone doesn’t care for you, isn’t it?
I think the psalmist must have had some other people who believed in God that didn’t care to fellowship with him, at least that is what I take away from this verse. Maybe they have seen God chastising him or believed some gossip against him, but he finds himself doing something I have tried to copy in my own life……praying for those people!
Look, this lady isn’t the first person to not like me. Shoot, there is a long line to get in for that! LOL. I love people, but my personality doesn’t set well with snooty types or fakes. I can’t help that and God will just have to bless them anyway because I wish them no ill will. I know I am not everyone’s favorite flavor…..but I wish I was. You know why? Because I love the Lord and I know they love the Lord – and I like harmony, not dissention.
The psalmist prays for those who have turned on him. Do you have other Christians who have fallen out with you over something? If there is no fault on your part that you need to make right, then ask God to change the situation.
Women have this problem of losing friends WAY more than men do and I believe it is because of things like miscommunication, gossip and downright cattiness. And you know what? These things ought not to be so. We need to behave ourselves, extend friendship, kindness and let the fruit of the Holy Spirit be in abundance in our lives. Anything else is works of the flesh and sin.
[And just so it is said, I am not having relationship problems with anyone in particular right now, so don’t read into this post for something that doesn’t exist. It just happens to be today’s topic in the verse we are looking at right now.]
Thinking about this lady in Brazil who doesn’t like the air I breathe makes my heart droop for a second until I pray for her. She and I may not be bosom buddies, but her burdens can still be carried by my shoulders as her sister in Christ. I can choose to care without expecting reciprocation on her part because that is what love does. It’s unconditional.
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
When we choose to follow the example of Christ, it helps us to obey the following verse:
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18
Be an unconditional friend. Be an example of Christ’s love. Dwell in God and His Word so you find verses like today’s that remind you to pray for others.
Until Next Time, Lord willing,