Sharing... Be a Friend
Good News Magazine
May 1979
Volume: Vol XXVI, No. 5
Issue: ISSN 0432-0816
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Sharing... Be a Friend
Bob Smith  

   Her eyes were alive with excitement and her face, although somewhat flushed by a flurry of activity, was fresh and radiant as she greeted me with an enthusiastic, "Hi! How have you been?"
   Her hurried planning was in preparation for a dinner honoring those responsible for Outreach, a program designed to help others.
   Although I had not seen the young lady, a longtime friend, for a number of months, my mind reflected back over the years to when this same individual was partially responsible for my understanding a little more clearly what was meant in Proverbs 18:24, "A man that has friends must show himself friendly."
   On that day after Sabbath services the congregation was milling about, the emanations from multiple conversations gently creating a happy, pleasing atmosphere.
   My young friend, looking somewhat defensive, approached me and complained, "This is the most unfriendly church I have ever attended!" I was taken somewhat aback, for there was obvious rapport and warmth expressed by the numerous handfuls of brethren talking in small groups around the room.
   "What is it about the brethren that causes you to feel this way?" I asked. "Do they ignore you when you approach them? Do they walk a way from you? Say offensive things to you?
   "What is it that makes them seem unfriendly?"
   The obvious beginnings of a pout directing her lips, she snapped: "I'm not the kind of person who just walks up to others and begins a conversation! I just sit there in my seat, over in a corner, sort of out of the way, and wait for someone to come over and be friendly."
   A man — or woman — who has friends must show himself friendly! I thought it, but didn't say it. She needed friends. We all do, and I began to hurt a little for her plight.
   Calling her by name, I suggested that many of the brethren probably desired to meet her, to get to know her, but because of a consideration and respect for the privacy of others might hesitate to approach her, feeling that perhaps they would be infringing upon that privacy. That maybe she wished to be alone or would not otherwise be so.
   My comments seemed of little solace. Her feelings were hurt by what she assumed to be the unfriendliness of others. Right at that moment words didn't mean much.
   Has that ever happened to you?
   Regardless of station in life, from corporate executive to low man on the proverbial totem pole of life, until we begin to consider our audience more important than self, regardless of the size of that audience, we will experience difficulty in having friends. As the apostle Paul stated, "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another" (Rom. 12:10). Or as in the Phillips translation, "Let us have real warm affection for one another as between brothers, and a willingness to let the other man have the credit."
   Now some months later, here she was — bustling about to give, share and bring pleasure to others — an exciting example of one who put into effect the proverb. She launched into a campaign to be friendly — bouncing from person to person, group to group, expressing interest in the joys and traumas of others — and was suddenly pleasantly surrounded by friends.
   We were obviously all in need of dramatic changes in our respective lives when the great Creator made each of us His friends (John 15:14-15).
   And He did it, not by sitting and waiting for us to come to Him, but rather by showing Himself friendly! Remember, Jesus Christ reminds us, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you... " (John 15:16).
   He made the first move! He initiated the introductory action. And that same Spirit, which He is, can perform the same service in each of us.
   My friend started to realize how all encompassing is the principle revealed in Matthew 23:35. She found that many in the congregation were hungry, spiritually, and she helped feed them. That some were thirsty, and she gave them drink. That many, aching to break through the tenacious bonds of self-pity, were literally strangers, and she took them in.
   She saw the need for each of us to be made well, and she contributed to that healing. And she saw the need for visiting those who had not yet emerged from man's society to our new way of life.
   My friend now has many friends, because she showed herself friendly.
   And it all started with, "Hi! How have you been?" — and really wanting to know.

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Good News MagazineMay 1979Vol XXVI, No. 5ISSN 0432-0816