LOOKING FRIENDLY Andy Hollifield 11-9-18
Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
How come everyone remembers the second part of that verse but not the first? That is a verse that I quote quite often. As a matter of fact, I have tried to instill the principle in my son. When I wave at someone I pass on the road he always ask, “Who was that daddy?” I usually reply, “I don’t know son, I was just being friendly”. If we are close to home I just say “One of our neighbors”. Sometimes now when he ask who I waved it he will just say, “Was that one of our neighbors?” and I tell him it was and then he ask, “Was you just looking friendly?” Then I tell him I was. He sometimes don’t always get his phrases or clichés right as far as wording but he usually gets the principle. I occasionally ask him who he is looking at in a store or somewhere or when he waves at someone we pass and he says, “I was just looking friendly”. While that is a variation on what Proverbs says and what I tell him, “How much better would the world be if we just all tried to look friendly?”
I am pretty bad to speak to strangers. No, my parents didn’t teach me better because we never knew any strangers. In my early years, everyone on the road was either kin or people we had known a long time. When you meet someone one time they are not a stranger anymore. If you want to have some fun, try speaking to people that you pass in the store or gas station today. You better be friendly to people because if you are self-absorbed and never speak to people your kids will likely turn out the same way. My usual line is “Hey, how are you?” or “Are you doing alright today?” Tyler usually says “Hey, how ya doin?” Being a people person comes somewhat natural for him but I still try to set him a good example. He defies all the norms of autism. He is a very social feller even though he isn’t real good with continued eye contact. Doctors told us years ago that Tyler would likely not progress past about age 14 at least personality-wise. In a lot of ways, that is what has made him a people magnet. From the time he was little people were drawn to him wherever we went. He don’t seem to be bothered if people don’t speak back to him but he just goes on through life “Looking Friendly”.
It is kind of embarrassing to admit at 53 years old, that I am quite often learning from a 22 year-old. At an age where he should be thinking he knows everything, he is still the friendly little kid he has always been. Actually I guess now he is a big Teddy Bear. Don’t get me wrong, we still have plenty of issues. I still want to bang my head against the wall at times but I guess all of us do for one reason or another.
The reason I am writing this is not so much because of Tyler but because of you all. When I wrote the little paragraph the other day, thanking everyone for reading my posts, 68 people have responded and I don’t take that for granted. Thursday night when I updated my profile picture, there have been 52 responded to one picture and 15 to the other one. I don’t mean to sound like I am bragging but I guess I am. I am not being boastful but I am thankful for the fact that all of you have taken time to “Look Friendly” to me by responding. Some of you I know and some I haven’t met yet but nevertheless, a man is never as wealthy as when he has friends. I feel like a mighty rich man.
The word “friendly” is used in the bible three times. The last time is this verse in Proverbs 18. The other times are also interesting. The first, in Judges 19:3, a husband goes out after his adulterous concubine after she had been gone home to her dad for four months. Guess what he done when he got there. He spoke friendly to her and had went to bring her home again and brought a couple of asses so she wouldn’t have to walk. The next time is in Ruth 2:13 when Ruth is talking to Boaz. She asked for his favor because he had comforted her and spoken friendly to her even though she was from Moab. That means we have an adulterous woman, and an outsider whose husband had recently died. Rather than having their past or position held against them, they had someone to speak friendly to them. In Judges the father of the woman rejoiced to meet her husband and in Ruth, she later became the wife of Boaz and a distant grandmother of Jesus. Both of these situations ended the way they did because the men involved were speaking friendly to the women.
The word “friend” is used 53 times with probably the most well-known are when Jesus told the disciples that he called them friends. Another notable one is found in Proverbs 17:17; “A friend loveth at all times…” Finally, in James 2:23 when it says that Abraham was called the friend of God. “Friends” is used 49 times and probably the most quoted is in John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.
Don’t you imagine that Jesus was “Looking Friendly” when he walked the shores of Galilee calling his disciples to follow him? He was obviously showing himself friendly. I wonder who all might would follow us to Jesus if we were “Looking Friendly” and showing ourselves friendly. I want to thank each and every one of you that read my posts for “Looking Friendly” and showing yourselves friendly to me. You have been a great encouragement. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!