"My child, don't lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them for they will refresh your soul." Proverbs 3:21-22a (NLT)
"Women are ridiculous," I said to my husband as I crawled into bed, tears dripping. He gave me an agreeable stare, since he had no words to console my aching heart.
I'd just learned a friend lied to me. It was about something senseless, which just made it worse. As the hours ticked by, I wrestled through troubling thoughts.
Why would she lie about THAT?
Were we ever really friends?
The combination of hurt and middle-of-the-night thinking was toxic, forming a very self-centered attitude in me. I decided I no longer had room in my life to deal with someone who had lied to me. So in my heart, I just unfriended this friend.
I have other people I can be friends with, I thought as I drifted off to sleep.
The next morning I realized how my emotions had distorted my perceptions. It concerned me how quickly I was willing to write off this friend, since we had been through a lot together. And I really did value our relationship.
So I pondered the emotions swirling in my heart.
In our cyber culture today, it's easy to sit behind computer screens and smartphones while we reject the reality of many things, including friendships.
My profile on Facebook says I have 900 "friends." Social media convinces me I have hundreds of people in my corner. But in reality, I don't have 900 friends I could call in the midst of a crisis or even go meet for a cup of coffee.
And that "unfriend" button is mighty tempting when someone hurts me. But the truth is, ending a relationship is much more complex than the way social media convinces me it can happen — as easily as clicking an icon.
Social media is a relational tool, but it's not a relational reality.
More than ever, I need to see my friendships through the lens of reality, and this verse helps me do this: "My child, don't lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them for they will refresh your soul," (Proverbs 3:21-22a).
God has given us two trustworthy filters to help us see things as what they really are: common sense and discernment.
In this situation with my friend, common sense, reminded me: You don't really have 900 friends, but you do have one or two people you can really count on. And you need to cultivate those relationships through good times and bad.
When I wanted to reject our relationship because I was hurt, discernment said: Your friend is human. At the core of her heart she cares about you and didn't mean to hurt you.
We will always be susceptible to flawed perceptions in our friendships. But when we hang on to the realities God offers us through common sense and discernment I believe we will be much wiser with our perceptions.
Using God's Word as my filter, rather than my emotions, allowed me to work through the hurtful issue with my friend. That experience made me a more compassionate friend and it strengthened our friendship, so that when I mess up (and I'm sure I will), hopefully she'll forgive me.
God, we are so grateful for Your gifts of common sense and discernment. Give us the grace to use these filters when things get foggy. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Is there a friendship God might want to restore because one or both of you had a flawed perception about what was happening? Maybe today you could reach out to that person and begin the process of healing.
Friendships thrive when we cultivate them. Invite a friend to meet you for some meaningful connecting time, this week or next.
1 Corinthians 13:12, "We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!" (MSG)
1 John 3:2, "But friends, that's exactly who we are: children of God. And that's only the beginning. Who knows how we'll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we'll see him — and in seeing him, become like him." (MSG)
© 2014 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105