Good morning, Mini-Women! Thanks for being so patient and waiting yet another day. Life just gets stacked up sometimes, doesn't it? But I'm back, ready to talk about the fab job you're doing applying LOVE to your friends when THEY are the BOHOs.
For anybody just joining us, a BOHO is a Big Ol' Hairy Obstacle that makes it hard for you to live the commandments. We've talked about other people (like brothers, absurd little creep boys, even parents, as well as bullies) being BOHOs. And we've discussed what happens when we are our OWN BOHOs. Last time we considered the fact that even our friends can become obstacles to doing the right thing and being the best we can be.
Our solution to that is to LOVE. To LET our friends know that something they're doing is a BOHO for us (in a loving way, of course) To OFFER a different way of doing things. To VALIDATE what's going on that IS good. And to EXPECT that sometimes things won't necessarily work out the way we want them to ( as in, everybody sees it our way and the whole thing turns out perfect!)
You've shared some pretty painful stories about BOHO friends, and I'm glad some of you have decided to try LOVE.
LEXI's going to concentrate on validating the good things, and so is NICHOLE (Remember, sometimes all you can say is something like, "You have great dental hygiene. I like that about you.")
BROWNIE GIRL plans to start by apologizing for her part in a misunderstanding (which works so much better than figuring out who's to blame . . . and never admitting it might be you!)
NICHOLE's working on how hard it is to confront friends about problems -- and it definitely is (when I have to have a "discusison" with my husband, I still get kind of anxious -- and we've been married for 37 years!) TRIN and HOLLY agree -- they don't want their friends mad at them -- and BECKY seems to have had that same problem. Still, although VERONICA, too, knows it's REALLY hard, she says it's better than where she and her friend are right now. You hit it right on the head, VERONICA.
JANE is taking a different approach and just not talking at all when her friends start gossiping, because, again, confronting is scary!
BECKY's decided to make a poster to remind herself to LOVE. (right after she finishes her homework . . .)
And TALLIE keeps telling herself that God is with her, even though this LOVE thing is WAY hard. TALIA found that to be true when, in a situation where she ordinarily would've gotten angry at a BOHO, she didn't -- and she knows God was helping her. And yet -- when it comes to another friend, well, she would just be soooooo nervous confronting her about "going with the world."
That's what we keep coming back to -- how hard it is. And how complicated. MICHELLE points out that while she wants to confront her friend about ignoring her, she keeps thinking about the times when her friend IS nice. And then there's the fact that their dads are friends and work together. Wouldn't it totally mess things up if the confrontation didn't go well?
Is it TOO hard? Won't we end up losing all our friends?
The answer to both those questions is "no." We just need a little more instruction -- and you have come to the right place for that.
Okay, so first of all, God never asks us to do anything that's too hard for us. It might not be the most fun thing on the planet, but it isn't impossible. As TALLIE and TALIA both pointed out, we don't have to go it alone. God's right there for the whole thing. I know for a fact that everything goes easier when I am CONSCIOUS that God's in the middle of it. What's the point in being Christians if we don't USE that?
Next - we have to stop thinking of it as a confrontation. Jesus himself didn't even do that, except when he was talking to the Pharisees, who were out and out attacking him. They weren't his friends. With his friends -- the disciples, people who came to him for healing, those kind of folks -- he was gentle and kind, but also firm. Let's look at the difference between "The Hard Way" and "The Jesus Way."
The Hard Way: "You always leave me out when we're at church and I hate that. You have to stop it."
The Jesus Way: "Have you noticed that you're different with me at church than you are when we're by ourselves? You think we could work on that?"
The Hard Way: "You're totally going the world's way and you're gonna end up in trouble. Just sayin'."
The Jesus Way: "You're my best friend and I love you, but some of the choices you're making are making me worry about you."
The Hard Way: "You guys are not being Christian when you gossip. And you're making it WAY hard for ME to be Christian when I'm with you. Just so you know."
The Jesus Way: "Has anybody else noticed how much we gossip? Do y'all want to work on that with me -- 'cause I don't feel good about it, you know?"
So -- when you LET a friend know what's bothering you (the L in LOVE) -- keep these things in mind:
* don't attack or criticize or judge; just say how it's affecting YOU
* don't come off as the better person; assume that your friend wants to make things right, too
* always include something positive -- "I love you," "I like how things are sometimes," "I need your help."
Let's try that this weekend, yes? See if you can fill in these blanks with a friend (or family member) who is currently a BOHO for you.
When this happens -- _____________________ -- I feel really _____________ and I want us to fix it somehow. What about if we try __________________________?
And of course, pray before, during and after. God is all OVER this thing. Can't wait to hear what happens.
Nancy Rue P.S. Next time we'll talk about what to do if your friend DOES get mad.