If someone shows you who they are – BELIEVE THEM.
Talk is cheap – both in person and in written form. It is what a person behaves like – their actions and gestures towards others – and what others really see. It is what they live like – that really matters.
Like you, I have been duped by smooth talking people, even those I allowed in to my world to be a close friend – that when injured or hurt – or perceived being injured or hurt by me – that a very different person emerged – one that scared me – one I didn’t even know anymore.
You see, most of us can hide who we really are when times are good. Friendship and love are at a high point – no problems, no conflicts of any kind. Everyone sees us as generous, loving, kind, flexible, honest, self-sacrificing and genuine. But when times are sticky, there is an issue, an argument, an impasse – that is when someone’s true colors come out for a breather. It is their way of finally showing me who they really are.
I am too trusting by nature. I tend to see the good in people – even when nobody else can – it’s hard for me to believe that other people have ulterior motives – because I don’t think and operate like that. And after having it happen to me so many times you would think I would just put up a high fence and pull up the draw-bridge to my world – but instead – I always err on the trusting side. I know things need to be tested and tried. I have learned that the hard way many times. Not when things are good – but when things were bad.
Apply a little heat in a situation with a good friend and you will quickly find out what is just below the surface. How do they react to adversity? To someone disagreeing with them? To the truth? To what they perceive as a rejection? Will a different person be visible? Will the ‘real’ them come out? Do they lash out? Do they point fingers? Turn events around and twist words? Make you feel as though you’re the crazy one? Yes – I have experienced that too.
It is important to ‘test’ a friendship – allow it to mature and ripen over time. Be careful what you share because it may come back to bite you – especially if there is ever a disagreement or conflict – and you will be sorry you shared so much. A friendship should run through the different seasons of time – good and bad. And a friend worth having – is a friend that does not mind being tested. There is not secret agenda – or pretending to be a certain way. They just are.
More than anything else – be a good friend. Be loving and kind – always willing to go the extra mile, turning the other cheek, thinking of others first – and how to increase their happiness and comfort – before your own. Be willing to listen more than talk – to be there for someone in good and bad times – to love unconditionally – never judge and only offer advice when asked. Be that shoulder that someone can cry on – or the best cheerleader, applauding your friend’s new situation, or financial success. Be someone who others trust in and will share confidences with – knowing they will be safe with you. So important. Do your friends trust you? Are they safe with you?
Is there a risk involved with being like this? The trusting one? The loving one? Absolutely! But I believe that if I live by the example of Jesus – who laid down His own life for his friends – that it is not unreasonable of Him to ask this of me. To get involved with people is always a risk – and being hurt or injured in some way by those that do not understand this way to live – will always be there for me. But I will still love – I will still give of myself – I will still trust.
A true friend will stay. Even when there is a conflict or hurt. They will be able to forgive and be forgiven. They will be able to take responsibility and be gracious enough not to notice your short-comings and the way you blew it. They will be the first to understand and to love. They will not betray a confidence – or hurt you intentionally.
I am so blessed to have people like this in my life. I am also sad today because I had to discover that not all people are like this – nor do they have my best interest at heart. And to those people who have done damage and then walked away – I let them go. Knowing God is not finished with them yet – and they still have so many lessons to learn and many more people to help them rub off their rough edges. Yes – sometimes it is all I can do for that person and the best gift I can give myself – to just let them go. Remember everyone is an example of friendship one way or the other – those that got it – those that did not. Be the one who gets it.
I have many friends dealing with this sensitive subject right now – and my love, thoughts and prayers are with you. There is nothing quite like the betrayal and loss of a good friend – or someone who you thought was a good friend. No other pain really adequately describes this kind of pain. Death would be easier in some respects. But for every hurt in friendship – God replaces that hurt and pain with His own love and peace – and then as He is providing healing for your wounded and hurting heart – He is bringing someone else into your world – when you are ready for them – and ready to begin again. A new friendship that will bring healing – someone that is honest, loving, kind and faithful. This is His gift to you. And instead of you asking, ‘Show me!’ They will be a walking, living, breathing example of Jesus to you.
I am praying for you