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There is a proverb in the Bible at the end of the 18th Chapter that states that in order to have many friends one must show oneself friendly, and that there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. I believe I’m beginning to see another level of meaning in this proverb. It isn’t only saying the obvious; which is that if we are friendly ourselves we will enjoy many friendships. It is saying that we must first be friendly WITH OURSELVES before true and enduring friendships with others can be formed. And being friendly with ourselves means we quit beating up on ourselves with the club of harsh condemning thoughts, which is the actual beating where all abuse truly starts. “There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8 verse 1) Yes, it also means that we must be honest with ourselves because friends are honest, but not cruelly honest. Honesty does not necessitate cruelty. The verse in Proverbs goes on to say that “there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” That friend first interpreted by believers is Jesus. But that friend is also mysteriously ourselves. A friend once told me, "Jesus in you is more you than you are." We stick close to ourselves, did you ever notice that? No matter where you go you carry yourself with you. Since we are with ourselves 24-7 without respite or interruption, it behooves us to make friends with ourselves! It will make it much easier going that way. We are to make peace with ourselves! If we are not friendly with ourselves, then we are at constant odds or even at continual war with ourselves. And that is a miserable way to live, because there is no escaping the accompanying stress and the tension. It’s true as the saying goes, that pain is inevitable but misery is a choice.
How then do we begin to make friends with ourselves? For starters, we can begin by thanking God every morning as a matter of course for the GIFT of ourselves. That is His first gift to us: a living breathing self, even before the gift of Jesus and eternal life, because there has to be a self to even receive Jesus as Savior and relate to God, and have a place to put the eternal life! Then as with any friendship we find positive, uplifting and edifying things to tell ourselves. What better place to find those truths than in the Word of God? And finally, SING some of these encouraging truths to ourselves in “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” making melody in our hearts in private, so that it’s not about performance or musical talent, but a heart toward inner friendship, which inevitably overflows to a friendless and waiting world.
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