A little ad: Cecily's Friendship book
I try to not to be too much about the hard sell on this blog but I'm going to make a tiny exception to let you know about my Friendship book.
I first wrote this about five or six years ago, based around a series of talks I gave at a camp for teenagers. I was fascinated by what makes a good friendship, how to make sense of relationships and how to work through failed friendships and other difficult stuff that happens.
Nothing really happened to it. As often is the case with me, a publisher expressed interest and then finally said no, so I put it on the backburner.
Recently I was asked to speak on Friendship at a local church. I had a thought that I could revamp it and maybe sell a few copies on the day, given that I had a bit of time to prepare, so I gave it a go-over and set it up. I ordered 10 copies, not expecting to sell that many.
Over 100 ladies and girls turned up to breakfast. I sold every copy of my book on the day and took 6 orders for more. A week later the organiser contacted me. She'd put in more orders for 41 additional copies!
So I thought I'd give you the opportunity to take a look as well.
It's cute, it's short and it would be good to work through in youth groups or small groups, or just on your own. Most people worry about their friendships and this book covers theory, practical how-tos and Bible all in the one slim volume.
Want a little taste?
Here's the section entitled: I have to love everyone, but do I have to like everyone?
Sometimes this question means: do I have to treat everyone like my best friend?
Understanding the four spaces means understanding that different people will fall into different spaces. Some people who you’re very happy to have in your social space may stay there. Others may enter your personal space. Some may continue in your life in the public space.
I have lots of friends. Some I like more than others. There are some people I naturally click with and I love to spend time with them. There are others I like quite a lot, but if we spent too much time
together, I think we would get
on each other’s nerves and say something rude eventually.
It’s interesting that when Jesus was asked the question ‘what is the greatest commandment’ he
answered by quoting from the Old Testament, ‘love God and love your neighbour as yourself’. That could sound like having a lot of best friends. It seems a little exhausting.
I think that’s what the people around him thought, because they seemed very keen to clear up exactly what he meant. The very next question was, “Who is my neighbour?”
In answering this question Jesus told the very famous Good Samaritan story. But think back and identify what space that story happened in?
The man is found on the road and the religious people pass by – that’s public space.
The Samaritan stops to help him – that’s public and social.
Then there’s a certain amount of care in the personal space because he’s so sick and can’t look after himself, but the Samaritan left at that point.
Loving his neighbour didn’t include forcing his way in to the man’s life and becoming his best friend.
Loving your neighbour doesn’t necessarily mean being personally or intimately close to everyone you come across. But it does mean treating everyone with respect, generosity and love appropriate to the space you find yourself in.
You may not like someone but that’s no excuse for being cruel or rude, or ignoring them, or avoiding them, or paying them out, or gossiping about them. And if you find yourself in a position to help that person that you don’t like, loving your neighbour requires that you do just that! That may mean standing up for them against teasing or being polite when your peers are being rude, or giving someone a chance.
So the answer is: no, you don’t have to like everybody. But you do have to love them.
And there is a difference.