Two Simple, Lasting Ways to Befriend Our Families
“If I treated my friends like they were my family, would I still have friends?” The question jolted Lisa. She was blessed to have godly friendships, including two close friends where encouragement and delight ran both ways. Yet, when it came to her own family, an uncomfortable inconsistency was present. While none of the relationships were horrible and she knew her family loved her, she couldn’t help but wonder if a relationship would even exist if not for the blood ties.
What about you? Ladies, we especially have great power to make friendship the heart of our homes. When we say to a friend, “You’re like family.” would that be a good or bad thing? Regardless of where you fall in family friendliness, no relationship ever suffered from too much love. Whether it is between spouses, parents to children, or even brothers and sisters, God’s Word on friendship has much to give us.
“Do you always smile like that?” A young lady I know was stopped and asked this very question by an older gentleman while she was grocery shopping. The lady stopped before replying, “Well, I do always try to have a smile.”
“You know, most women today don’t smile at all. You have a beautiful smile.”
From this story I learned two things: people notice when we smile and they notice when we don’t. If a smile can have this much impact on a stranger what impact might it hold for our families? Smiling is contagious and affects our brains and relationships. In fact, one study suggest the act of smiling rewires our brain neurons to create our responses to be more positive than negative. If true, then we see science catching up with Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” and again, “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” (Proverbs 15:13) In day-to-day life, it takes diligence to keep a cheerful countenance. Just as our bodies are not naturally prone to be fit, so our natural default is to be negative. But like good health, the relationship rewards are priceless. Just smile. Smile when you make eye contact with your child. Smile when a loved one comes home. Smile when you are by yourself. The medicine will do you and your family good.
In the family circle, where correction, discipline, and meeting deadlines are everyday happenings, we quickly can go weeks, months, even years without speaking pleasant words. As women, we especially can find our words taking a negative plunge if we aren’t diligent. Like smiling, it takes an active, conscious choice to choose to speak what is pleasant. “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24) Do you want to build up the health of your family and make their spirits sweet? Speak pleasant words. Words of correction are needful, but it is the genuine compliment, word of thanks, or praising of what is good and lovely that builds the bones. Not only that, but pleasant words bind hearts together. It nourishes fellowship and befriends. Few people enjoy being around a negative, gloomy person. Be the friend who speaks of what is good and lovely.
Kenzi Knapp is a follower of Christ, homeschool graduate and student of history. A fourth generation Missourian she enjoys writing about daily life enrolled in Gods great course of faith and His story throughout the ages at her blog, Honey Rock Hills.