I was reading an excerpt from one of my time-worn commentaries, that our neighbor is injured when we act toward them in any other way than a friend. This thought really got me thinking about the way we view and treat others. Most of us would agree that it is really important to be gracious toward anyone we know or meet. This is what Christians are supposed to do, of course. Yet, I started thinking; it would be much better if we went a step further, and treated everyone we know or casually come in contact with as if they were friends.
My mother-in-law is one of those dear souls who genuinely cares about everyone she meets or knows. She’s a bit inquisitive when she meets you, well maybe a lot inquisitive. And the reason is, she wants to know you, really know you. Ethel makes friends and she will not de-friend you, no matter what you do or tell her about yourself. Her husband Ray was the U.S. President of a sizable international company based in Europe – she was his sidekick traveling overseas, not just meeting but befriending executives and business leaders. As time went on the European executives took such a shine to her friendly ways they wanted Ethel to always accompany Ray when he traveled to Europe for meetings. Ethel has also treated everyone the same no matter their station in life. And everyone feels it and knows it. Once I went into my bank and somehow let the clerk at the bank know I was Ethel’s son-in-law. Instant credibility for me. The tellers and the loan agent in the bank perked up and acknowledged her kindness to them. I realized that everybody is a friend to Ethel, and it is felt by everybody she knows.
Scripture encourages us in more than one passage to cultivate a friendly and civil disposition; to refrain from concealed or open hostility toward others and to extend our friendship to everyone. I admit, I have not embraced this policy as much as I should have as I have moved through life, but I want to try harder. This dispositional shift to extend our friendship to everyone in our orbit is a lofty aspiration. But it would be hard to disagree that the world would be a better place for us, and those around us, if we followed a My Friend My Neighbor protocol toward everyone.
Joseph C. Hutchison
Oh my dear brother-in-law! You have nailed this one. What an inspirational God felt message for all of us to live by. Thank you Mom and Dad ( Ethel and Ray) for the great role models you are! Amen