It's odd that when you think of your friends, you don't usually think about how they really treat you. We tend to make excuses for them, especially if we enjoy being around them, or if we think it's “cool” to name drop. Makes us feel superior and special, somehow.
The reality is that sometimes our closest friends, and even family, will treat us with total lack of consideration. They care not for our soft hearts, our past full of rejection, or our loyalty to them. They seem to only care for themselves. Or maybe even other people?
I once had a very close girlfriend when I was growing up. We knew each other since before school. But we became fast friends in elementary school and even way beyond school of any kind. But every once in awhile she would cancel out on me when we were going to either hang out or even going to an event. And it seemed this always happened because of a particular other person. She did not try to hide it. I guess, to her credit, she was rather blatant about it. Thus my feelings would be hurt, and I would cry silently, yet all the while I would be making excuses for her. She didn't know what she did to hurt me, or she felt sorry for this other person, and that was the only reason she would do it. Fact was, she knew I would always be there. Always forgiving, always ready to be friends again. I was a virtual doormat.
All these many years later, I sometimes still feel that hurt. But I have to say, that hurt has probably been very beneficial to me, and to others. For, you see, remembering how I felt when someone mistreated me, whether it was intentional or accidental, helps me to treat other people better. I do not wish to be the cause of other people's hurt feelings. I will not set out to wound other people's hearts. In fact, I will do most anything within my power to treat them fair and square, to go the extra mile to make them feel important to me, to show them they have real value and are a positive impact on other people.
I have always befriended the underdog. I have taken some of them under my wing. I have gone out of my way to be nice to them, to smile at them, to include them in some of my activities. I have taken a stand to protect them, and to defend their character. Most of all, I have prayed that God would deliver them from the persecution they seem to attract, through no fault of their own.
Jesus asked us to love one another as we do ourselves. He has said there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend, for other people. He also told us to treat others as we would like to be treated. Jesus told us that if we give a drink of water to others, then we have done it for Him.
Remember what it feels like, or what you MAY feel like, if mistreated by other people. Then, take action to not treat any other people like that. Be courteous and kind, helpful and useful, full of love and grace. Minister to hearts and souls with the love our Father has so graciously imparted to us.
The lessons learned? Care about other people….remember, we all are others people too!