~A WISE MAN MAKES HIS OWN DECISIONS, BUT A FOOL FOLLOWS PUBLIC OPINION~
Sometimes, I reflect on being in grade school and how the new kid at school was given such a difficult time. The kids stood around the new kid staring as if they were thinking, “who is that?” While someone else would say, “well, I know I am not going to be the first person to talk to her, I will wait to see who goes first.” Also, there would always be that one that would say, “let me see if the popular ones will talk to her.” Let’s not forget the ones who followed the crowd, they waited to see how many friends she would get before introducing themselves. Wait, wait how could I forget the about the ones that needed people with titles to endorse their friendships. They would say, if Myron, the class president or Josten, the basketball team captain, talk to her then I will talk to her.
How much of who, what, where and how about people are determining factors in building a relationship with them. How much of what we have heard or have not heard about someone determines our relationship or perception or even reception of them. How does the opinions of significant people in our lives affect the quality of our relationships with others?
I have been toiling with writing this for some time, but I believe what we go through what we go through to help others. Romans 5:15 declares, “He died for all people, so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for the one who died and rose for them.” I have vowed to always share my plight regardless:
I was asked to share a cup of coffee a few weeks ago by a longtime acquaintance. I was left somewhat confused because of the distance that had grown between us. Prior to our meeting when we ran into each other, it was cordial but also different. After a while I concluded that it had to have something to do with a change in a life event. One of the things we had in common had simply ended. I had moved on but surely that should not have changed our friendship.
The day we met, we greeted with a hug and smile, but I saw remorse on her face. I immediately asked her if she was ok and once again she gave me a slight smile, but it was genuine. Beyond the smile I saw my old friend, but I knew she had to free herself of something in order for that sweet and caring person to be again. I immediately asked her to talk.
She started by apologizing for the distance. She blamed herself more than a few times. As she spoke I remember numerous times I tried reaching out to her, but was met with resistance. She either made excuses or ignored my invites.
She did not go into details, and I did not need it. She forcefully spoke as if she needed to immediately get it out. She. Said, “I did not know how I would be treated if I had continue our friendship. I knew you did what you had to do. I knew you did not do anything wrong. I knew the kind of person you are, therefore it was no reason for me to behave the way I did. I allow myself to get caught up in other people’s opinions. The things that were said about you, I knew it was spoken out of hurt and offense. A couple of times I defended you and said, “That is not true”. She would never do that because she has a heart for people. She helped me so much when I moved here when I had nothing.” She stopped and looked at me and said, “I guess you are thinking that I valued their friendship over ours.” I looked at her shock my head to disagree. Then she said, “They were upset because of your decision and decided to severe ties with you, and I did not want to deal with it, so I did the same thing. Lennie you never changed because whenever we ran into each other for whatever reason, you act as if nothing changed. This has been eating at me for some time, and I had to make it right. I am asking you to forgive me because I was wrong.”
Needless to say by this time I was crying because I saw my friend again. I was not offended by what had happened, but I was glad that she was free. I told her I did not see a need for an apology because she hadn’t done anything to me, but I knew she needed me to say forgiveness granted. When I did, the slight smile was now a smile of someone that lost a ton of weight. My friend is now free.
Thinking on all of this so much comes to mind. When we recognize wrong, why do we pursue regardless if it is our hands? We cannot believe walking along side others that slaughters and because our hands are in our pockets our hands are free of blood. I am reminded of the scripture: “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths.” Ezekiel 3:20. When we are in the presence of those that are doing wrong and do not say anything, we have become a transgressor.
I have come to know quite well how some folk are being led by what we call popular opinions by distinguished people in their lives. You know, if my boss won’t, then I am not. What ever happened to getting to know others for ourselves? Whatever happened to making our decisions?
Our relationship was started with a spiritual connect and we became close over time. I did not someone to tell me who she was because I saw her works. So the person she became for the time was not her all.
At the end of our time she gave me a beautiful cup inscribed with Mathew 7:16 , “You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?” She said I knew who you were the first day I met you and each day I witnessed your sweet, quiet spirit.
Mathew 7:16 brings a few thoughts to mind so let me leave these with you:
- In order to know fruit you must first know the fruits’ origin. “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. You can’t identify unless you are accustomed and in relations with “the true grapevine. There must be a connection.
- A wise blind man can be given a vegetable while being told it is a fruit, but his palate will know quite well that it is not a fruit. Try it for yourselves, and do not rely on another’s palate because you could very well be missing out on the real thing.