What makes a “faith leader”? (part 4) What kind of friend are you anyway?

Friends Our Guest
Writer this week is educator and artist Nancy Thayer. In this 5-part series, Nancy
examines aspects of her life that make a “faith

In this series of articles I’ve talked about what being a faith leader means to me as an artist, teacher and parent. In this article I want to get down to the nitty-gritty of friendship and what being a faith leader has to do with friendship. It is not my intention to lecture anyone about how to be a good friend. Instead, I would like to explain how my beliefs have helped me to understand the ongoing process of becoming a friend.
    I describe a friend as someone I know well, regard highly with affection, trust, and can depend on to be honest with me, someone who will stick up for me when I need defending. I remember having a particular conversation with a close friend sometime ago. She was finding every kind of fault with herself because of something she had done. I finally stopped her and said, “ Hey, you’re talking about my friend. I don’t let people criticize my friends that way so stop it!”
    We both laughed, but also realized the wisdom of defending ourselves from our own destructive criticism.
    I believe that we are created in the image and likeness of an all wise and loving Creator. After many of the statements dealing with creation in Genesis I, we read, “and behold it was very good.” So how do we explain the imperfect picture we paint of others and ourselves? Either the Creator makes mistakes, messes up and then criticizes and punishes Her/His creation, or the mist that went up and watered the face of the earth symbolizes the fog that must clear for us to see creation as the Creator does.
    It has been my experience that when I have tried to look at another individual or myself through the lens of the Creator, as a spiritual expression of a perfect model, a small degree of the mist seems to lift allowing my focus to clear in the same way it does when I put on my glasses. When I take my glasses off, the image doesn’t change, only my view of it blurs. I believe being a good friend involves viewing others with the lens of love, recognizing what elements of the image need to be brought into focus. It’s not a matter of pretending that flaws, whatever form they may take, aren’t seen. It’s more a matter of taking the action needed to correct them.
    I also see this as an ongoing process of becoming a friend since I am not always successful in clarifying my view! Being a friend does not really depend on the other person. I believe it depends on me. I’m the one needing to adjust my focus no matter what the picture may appear to be.
    What do you think?
    Are there some people you think of as associates and others as friends? When you label each group are you thinking about the other or about your perception of the other? Are there those who you just don’t want to call your friend? Is it too much to ask? Why? Do you have relatives who are also friends and some who are not?
    Please let us know what you think. I will be reading and responding to your comments.



    Please, Add a Comment. Where have you seen this kind of problem arising? What solutions have you found?

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