Day 3 in Proverbs
Proverbs 3: “Let love and loyalty always show like a necklace, and write them in your mind. God and people will like you and consider you a success.”
Proverbs 3:32 “The Lord doesn’t like anyone who is dishonest, but he lets good people be his friends.”
It took me a while, but I finally learned not to take people at face value. I used to think that what I saw on the surface was who the person was, but have since learned I was wrong. My biggest heartbreaks in life have come from this very thing. After a while you learn to slow down, and have the patience to let people reveal who they really are. Therefore, I no longer believe my first impressions of people are valid…..and I think that realizing that was one of the best lessons I ever learned. It takes time and a little covert observation to really know who a person is. And seeing who makes an effort to love you….and who is really in your corner and cheering you on to do good things in this world.
I’m a girl….I love jewelry. It’s easy to get distracted by a beautiful necklace. Some just grab your attention and it’s hard to focus on anything else. I don’t care whether the necklace is of great monetary value….if I like it, I like it. I like everything from a simple chain to that of elaborate precious stones that shimmer every which way with any movement.
I think people are like jewelry. Some are really flashy and make a really great first impression. As you get to know them, and notice who they really are, you may find their flash is authentic. They really are what they appear….and are big spectacular specimens of human beings. But with others, it may prove to be just flash. We used to say about one friend “He’s a great guy, until you really get to know him.” In time, most people reveal who they really are.
So you have the flashy people who grab your attention right away, but then there are the other people, who don’t really glitter from a distance. You may not be overly impressed with their jewelry at first, but as you see them closely, and examine everything up close, you find they are made up of precious stones and platinum. It’s amazing to me how many of the best people I know are this type.
And yeah….there are those who appear to be worthless and prove it to us over and over again. I think Oprah used to say that Maya Angelou told her “When people tell you who they are, believe them.”
When you realize the “worth” of a friend may not be much, what do you do? I think the best advice is that you don’t ever forget who they really are. I hang out with all kinds of people. In my heart of hearts, I usually know who my true friends are. I also know the people who I spend a lot of time with, but who don’t have the capability to ever be more than an acquaintance. Some I limit spending time with, some I don’t. Overall, though, it’s good to have a firm idea of those who not loyal to me and those who don’t have the capacity to love me. I can’t say it doesn’t hurt when they prove it to you over and over again….but recovery time gets to be less and less….and I realize that my heartbreak is more about me than them. After a while you know you can’t change people, you can’t make them into what you want them to be, and you can’t just take the good and ignore the bad. It’s all important. But you also can’t take out the humanity. We are who we are for so many different reasons…..some out of our control. I do believe people can change…..but I also think change is hard and rare. We have to turn away from our true nature…..and that is so very hard to do. But I want to be there to support in the event that they do.
A friend of mine is currently dealing with the issues that come from being an addict. They were in recovery, but as things in their body and their life started to hurt them, they slowly started slipping back into self-medication. They knew better than the doctors. Their judgment was better than those who loved them. It was all innocent, everything was OK. They had a reason for it all. But substances change who we are, and things progressed to where they were choosing them above love and loyalty for those they hold dear in their life. It didn’t matter they were being deceptive and bringing them pain…..they wanted to feel better. They appear fine on the surface, but it didn’t take long to see it happening. And when I did, I knew they cannot be trusted right now. They are the center of their own universe. I can’t tell you how frustrating this is…. because I know the wonderful person underneath. But you can’t turn your back on reality….and you can’t pretend that the downward spiral isn’t happening. You cannot enable the behavior….you have to confront it. And sometimes walk away. They are the only ones who can change themselves.
But let me take the focus off of everyone else. Let’s look at these verses again. They’re really directed at us. What kind of friend, what kind of family member, what kind of person are we? Are we wearing precious love and loyalty as our necklace every day, or are we keeping it in a box and only taking it out on special occasions? If we are to examine ourselves closely is our “necklace” really made up of hate, envy, self-centeredness, and malevolent intent (you can look that one up as a vocabulary word if you need to…..it’s a good one that just rolls off the tongue…or for some of us, doesn’t!) Like I said, we can’t change other people….we are not responsible for changing other people…. but we are totally responsible for how we are living our own lives. We are responsible for the kind of friend and family member we really are. And we forget so easily…..God tells us writing it on our hand is not enough, we have to constantly remember to write it on our mind. It’s not something we are going to remember without a little mental prompting.
We can be dishonest with other people, but we can’t be dishonest with God. He sees our very heart, soul and most of all what is written on our mind. The only pure judge of character. Like verse 32 in Proverbs 3 says, if you are living your life dishonestly, he is not going to be your friend. He’s looking for the good people (which seem to be not the perfect ones, but those honest with themselves and with others.) So am I. In my friends….but more importantly, in the mirror.