Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is popularly known as The Golden Rule. It is found in the Bible (Luke 6:31).
I would also say that abiding by the golden rule also allows for “I should expect back what I am giving to you, from you”. I would be wrong. Giving, anything, is from the heart, and should be done in obedience to God. But what about friendship? Hmm.
Serving the Lord when it comes to dealing with strangers and those you don’t know well takes committment. It is a conscious effort, to some degree, because it is not a normal instinct in comparison to serving the Lord in your dealings with your friends. For me, doing for my friends, or those I consider my friends, becomes second nature. I don’t think about it. I just do it.
In college, I experienced my first weed out. I cut any and all ties that did not lead to me growing closer to Christ. (Like I said here, I have been on both sides of The Stamp Out). Now, at almost 32 years old, I was un-expectantly thrown into another weed out. This time, it’s not weeding out those who don’t believe in Jesus the Christ as Savior and Lord. It’s those who have shown that in their life, I am expendable.
I thought that at 30, weeding out wouldn’t be necessary. God proved me wrong. I asked the Lord to reveal to me who is for me and who isn’t. Who is seasonal and who is permanent. I asked him to categorize my relationships with people. I was surprised by His answers. Sometimes I ask the Lord routine questions just to make sure I am still in line with Him; that I haven’t gone off on my own tangent trying to make my will His will. I ask these questions not expecting a response different from what I believe I know to be true. I asked him about my relationships thinking this was a routine question. So, to get an answer, and an unexpected answer at that, was difficult to bear.
I had placed people on my friends list that shouldn’t be there. I’ve tried to graft people in to be on that list and that is not where they belong. Do I or should I act unfriendly to them now? Of course not! I had to put some people back on the service/minister-to list. My service/minister list are those whom I am there to serve but I have no expectation of reciprocation like I do with my friends. With my friends, I don’t do for them to get from them. I don’t do that with anybody. With a friendship, a true friendship that has grown through things, loyalty is earned.
The ironic thing here is that I just helped a friend through a weed out experience and here I am going through it again! The weed out involves emotional pain and accepting the reality of your relationship. It can be extremely difficult especially if you have suppressed the truth for a span of time.
I had to fast about it. Once I received what God was saying about some of my relationships, I hurt really bad. I was in tears. I didn’t want to make any rash decisions about how I was going to treat my “former friends” in my heightened emotional state. I knew if I was going to grow through this, I had to feel and accept the hurt first. So, I fasted so I could show God I was serious and hear from Him. (A side not about fasting. I don’t. I’ve done it one other time in my life. I love food and I love to eat. I’ve told the Lord before and now I am telling you. If I fast, you know I’m serious because a sistah loves food too much to just give it up).
I fasted solid foods from the time I received what God was telling me until 3PM (about 6 hours). I kept asking God to help me treat my “former friends” with the love of Christ and not expect anything in return from them. I prayed that I would have His peace within myself so that I could treat them without contempt. I didn’t want to hold any negative towards them in my heart.
God is good. He healed my heartache. About four hours after my fast ended, I received a call from a newly classed “former friend” and I had no ill will towards her at all. My outward actions were the same as before but I was changed on the inside.