I was reading an excerpt from one of my 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 treat others. Most of us would agree that it is really important to be gracious toward anyone we know. This is what Christians are supposed to do. Yet, I think we would also agree that we could go a step further and treated everyone we know or meet 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 because she wants to befriend you. When Ethel makes friends 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. The European executives took such a shine to her friendly ways they wanted Ethel to accompany Ray when he traveled to Europe for meetings. Ethel also treats everyone the same no matter their station in life. I went into my bank and let the clerk 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. Everybody is a friend to Ethel, and it is felt by everybody she knows.
The 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