So I was napping on the couch last night and woke up with a ringing thought in my mind: my closest friend doesn't like me any more. Now, I ask you, dear reader: what are the chances of that? I mean really. This is the person I have laughed and cried with over the course of several years. We've seen each other at our lowest points and rejoiced in the choicest victories together. We've worked hard and relaxed lazily. We've traded secrets and know more than most people about each other's pasts. Now can you imagine what cause I might have to believe that in the span of a half-hour nap, she had turned against me and abandoned her love of me?
Neither can I. But you know, I bought it hook, line, and sinker.
It's like when you have a dream that someone you care about makes fun of you or does something terrible like pour ketchup in your cereal (of course, in your dream, your cereal represents your deepest vulnerabilities). As you wake up, the affront somehow moves from the sleeping world into the waking; you are more than a little perturbed with the dream-perpetrator, even though you really have no reason.
Well, that was me. Though there was no dream, there was old hurt from yesterday, from years past, from other cities and other circumstances and from my own back yard. I went to bed snarly and sour. I arose miserable and depressed. I played over and over again in my mind all of the (untrue) reasons why our friendship was over. Naturally, in all of them I was victimized and helpless, with no one to come to my rescue. The more I pondered, the darker my thoughts became.
Which is the point of this particular little musing. You see, we are constantly being blown back and forth by the wind of opinion, interpretation, our own insecurities, and of course, little whispered lies from our enemy. When we let those things marinate in our mental stew of how we perceive ourselves and others, we often forget to find the truth of the matter. We obsess on the dire implications of our dark thoughts and care not one bit that we are embracing a wrong mindset that taints our thoughts about others and engenders a completely false opinion in the end.
This troublesome inclination is only compounded when we open our mouths to speak these half-truths and filtered perceptions to another human being - and might I dare say it is usually not to the person with whom you are mentally wrestling. Then, I am sorry to say, we have planted our own (often incorrect) conclusions into the next person, in whom those conclusions will root and splinter and twist.
How do we combat this? The Word is pretty simple. Check out James 3 - it's pretty clear about the destruction the tongue can bring about. And what drives the tongue? Our mind, our thoughts, our spirits when not bent to and focused on the great, magnificent Father. But oh, the simple beauty of this passage: "For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]" (Phillipians 4:8, Amplified).
Lovely. So peaceful. So far away from the turmoil that we all put ourselves through.
Don't misunderstand me. I have some legitimate issues and some hurt feelings. Happily, my friend and I are committed to each other and to making sure that we work this stuff out. But the giant, unscalable, knarled, blackened, twisted tree of my "thruth" comes nowhere near resembling the tiny seed of hurt that is reality.
So I will weigh and take account of the lovely and lovable, the kind and winsome and gracious. And I will keep my dearest friend