When I was a child my dad said to me “There is no such thing as friends.” Kind of harsh for a kid to hear…especially a kid who wanted to have friends. I didn’t want to believe my father, but he planted a seed of curiosity. Was he right? Why would he say that if he wasn’t right? Why would he say that to his kids?!?!
A couple of years ago, I realized that I can count the number of meaningful friendships I’ve had on one hand. Throughout all my school days, I wandered from group to group. When I grew tired of people (within a few weeks) I’d move on and see what else was out there.
As a young adult, I became a downtown drifter. Every now and then I try to remember the people I would hang out with and can’t even remember their last names.
Obviously, I never learned how to appreciate friendship. I’ve always loved being around people but felt that they were there for entertainment purposes. I found myself only interested in people who were able to scratch an itch. I had no desire to develop friendships that required nurturing.
In the end, that outlook affected my marriage. I had no idea how to handle issues in my marriage or how to build a sincere friendship with my husband. Whenever I felt overwhelmed I wanted to run away.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I noticed the repercussion of my dad’s ‘advice’. I love my dad dearly, but his advice came from bitterness in his heart. And that bitterness he passed on to a sponge of a little girl.
As parents, we need to channel our childhood and learn from the mistakes our parents, and adults around us, made. Whether it was being told that “Sex is bad”, “God is always angry” or whatever gnarly advice you were told we need to understand that children are vulnerable and believe the world around them.
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The Bible is full of scripture relating to fellowship but because I was so trusting of my dad’s advice, it took years for me to learn that God encourages friendship and fellowship….healthy friendship and fellowship.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
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How have you seen your relationships impacted by the advice you received from others?