People are tempted! Rather than let the apples fall undisturbed, they step on them and decay ensures. That takes clarification, I'm sure.
Today I encountered approximately 100 people since I only went to the post office and Walmart. Most people whose paths crossed mine formed impressions: fat, pretty, sophisticated, humorless, friendly, etc. You get the picture. We tend to form opinions of people with little input.
Of the 100 people I saw today approximately 5 were acquaintances. I formed even more profound impressions of them: wise, caring, thrifty and the like. I have gone one step beyond superficial categorization based solely on physical characteristics and speech. These categories are based on experience and multiple interactions.
Other than Terri, I saw no friends today. Friends are the ones who are most like family and often are preferred company over most family members. However, on some days I do see friends. They are special!
What makes friends special? We first must know the person. Since the root word for friend means "love", we must "like" that person. I'm using "like" as a substitute for philio (brotherly) love. Lastly, we must trust the person who is a friend. It's hard to imagine having a friend who will "knife you in the back" so to speak. The modern catch-phrase for the trust of a friend is "I've got your back!" "Sophia" at ask.com had the best definition of "I've got your back.":
"It means that if you ever get
into any trouble, or anything bad, the person will be right by your side and
will help you out no matter what and stick up for you. they wont leave you by
yourself in any bad situation, youll always have someone by you to help you
That's a great definition, but would you not say that one word, "trust" sums up that entire paragraph?
A person who's "got your back" 1) is there for you, 2) they are there unconditionally, 3) they are non-judgmental, 4) they are in step with you, 5) together you're a unit, 6) they will support you, 7) they won't abandon you when there are digressions, 8) they always are of a help.
Proverbs 17:17 "A friend loveth at all times..."
Exodus 33:11 "And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend."
Job 2:11 "Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him."
You get the point. The Bible defines "friend" fairly well. Job's friends have "got his back"! From just these three passages we see that friends have enduring love, friends are trustworthy and straightforward and they are there for you!
We know what we desire from friends. However, sometimes we get something a little different: unfair criticism even judgment, conditional love, dislike, criticism, gossip, abandonment, ridicule, disharmony, obstruction, and aloofness. If we get "qualities" such as these from friends, what would it take to behold an enemy? Sure, we can overlook a friend who has some of these characteristics, but how many does it take to reclassify a person from friend to an acquaintance, or even an enemy?
One of the qualities I respect, but is tough to take is for a friend to speak "face to face". Yes, friends can reprove a friend, but it must be a loving rebuke; not one done out of anger, spite, a personaliy disorder or just plain old meanness! One of my friends "set me straight", and I changed sinful behavior as a result, but when a friend does the same without a spirit of love, change is not forthcoming, but anger sure is!
Now, I've established prideful credentials of who's falsely a friend. The daily routine of that person is to establish himself "king of all"! The self-righteous king sits on their perfect throne and condemns all:
1) That person is really stupid.
2) That lady dresses so tacky!
3) He's so hypocritical.
4) She sure is fat.
5) They should do it the way I told them.
6) I am better than they are.
7) I'd never do that... wear that... say that, etc.
8) Things would fare much better if they were at my set standard.
and on and on...
The "King" above has a critical spirit, and is a false friend.
Those who seek to condemn have unrighteous hearts. They may be one of the village people in this account:
John 8:3 "And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him (Jesus) a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."
Yes, the village people were ready to stone the sinful woman when they were guilty of sin; maybe even the same sin as she! Jesus put the self-righteous judges in their place, no matter that the woman was obviously a sinner in need of a savior. What would Jesus have done if the woman had only PERCEIVED to have been a sexual temptress? Jesus would have been even more emphatic in his accusations! People spread false perceptions all the time, It's human nature! However, we should expect friends to be different!
I heard something one time that I really like! I forget the source (sic), but it's profound: "Love thy neighbor as thyself!" What a novel idea! Maybe we should put that into practice some day. It sure would change things. It might even lead to a better world.