Character Study: Companions
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that but the really great make you feel that you too can become great.When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition it is important with whom you regularly associate. Hang out with friends who are like-minded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives. Similarly be that kind of friend to your friends.
Last weekend, my husband and I met with our friends from high school and college for our annual Christmas party. In fact, my cherished volume of Mark Twain novels came from my husband's two high school friends and my former roommate who married one of them.
These six "like-minded" couples with "purpose-filled lives" have been a privileged part of my life for more than twenty-five years. We have experienced heart-warming memories as well as endured heart-breaking news. Whether or not we fully understand the decisions each couple makes, we have sought to be supportive of our plans big or small.
We have literally grown up and are growing old together. What a blessing!
But, I want to pause on the first part of this quotation for a moment.
Just as I have had these life-long friends and adulthood friends like them, I have had to turn away from those who have belittled--or worse, have sought to thwart--my ambitions. I do not make this assertion lightly: there are times when it is essential to stop associating with "small people" because of the emotional and psychological damage they can cause.
But, what about those who have a Hosea-like commitment?
That requires guidance from the source of the prior commitment.
When God calls us into a relationship, we are not to leave it until we are called out of it. That's why God is so adamant about not being unequally yoked with unbelievers. Yet, by His Spirit, He often calls us to engage for a time with individuals who need to see His love acted out through us. Only then can we be safe in those associations--the ones He ordains.
But, as Twain points out, there are those toxic people we are better off leaving behind. Jesus was insistent on this, too.
Resume the relationship?
In most cases, no.
There are better friends--decades-long-ones--who remain.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.