Author Julie-Allyson Ieron offers devotional thoughts and Bible-based encouragement to overwhelmed caregivers of aging parents and other relatives.
Julie is the author of more than two dozen books, including The Overwhelmed Woman's Guide to ... Caring for Aging Parents. (www.womencareforagingparents.com)
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Friday, July 29, 2016
“Do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared”(Proverbs 22:24-25).
It stands to reason that those whose counsel we seek, those whose opinions we value, will shape the person we become. If we're bosom-buddies with someone who makes poor choices, who lets anger cloud good judgment, who flies into a rage over trivial infractions, we will become like that person—in the worst possible ways.
Conversely in 3 John 11, the apostle writes, “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.”
It all boils down to knowing where to go for friends, and choosing those friends wisely. For whomever we choose to let past the pleasantries and into our hearts' confidence will influence who we become—for good or for bad.
When I ask you to name a Bible pair who modeled friendship, you'll probably come up with two obvious teams: David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi. Certainly a study of either pair of intertwined lives would yield a bushel of advice on friendship.
I challenge you to read the book of the Bible that bears Ruth's name, prayerfully, looking for ways God would prick your heart on how to be the kind of friend who will challenge others toward godliness.
I'd challenge you, too, to read every passage you can find about David and Jonathan (beginning in 1 Samuel 18:1). In their example you'll find a selfless, sacrificial love that always sought the best of the other, not allowing circumstances, jealousy, or other people's vendettas to get between them.
There is one line in the last scene between David and Jonathan, that stands out. Jonathan has gone to visit David in the wilderness, where the soon-to-be-king is in hiding from Jonathan's murderous-threat-breathing father, King Saul. “And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God” (1 Samuel 23:16).
Another translation says Jonathan “strengthened his hand in God” (NKJV); another says, “encouraged him [in his faith] in God” (HCSB).
Like Jonathan can we find (and be) a friend who, at the risk of his own life, meets us in the wilderness and helps us find strength in God—encouraging us in our faith and reminding us of God's track record of faithfulness?