Will you have any friends?

A spiritual look at issues of interest to young people

School will be starting soon. Or maybe for you it already has. If you'll be in a new class or at a new school, maybe you're wondering about having friends.

It's important to have friends - people to have fun with, to talk to and do stuff with.

I asked seven middle-school kids what was important to them about a friend. I talked with them one at a time, not in a group. But they each said pretty much the same thing! That a good friend is loyal, trustworthy, and truthful. For example, they said a friend ...

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* "keeps a confidence and doesn't tell other kids things I tell them."

* "doesn't lie to me and doesn't tell lies about me."

* "doesn't break a promise."

* "sticks up for me and sticks by me if something bad happens."

You know something? When they were talking about what makes a good friend, not one of those kids mentioned clothes or hair, size or shape, or how much stuff a person has.

If this shows what is important about being a friend, can you be a good friend? I think you can.

Why? First of all, you're made to be loyal, trustworthy, and truthful. God made you that way. It's your birthright (that means it can't be taken from you).

The Bible says that God cares for us all the time. He is reliable. We can trust God and trust His love for us. One thing's for sure: you can be certain you'll always be with Him. The Bible says God is like a rock (that makes me think of Him as being forever) and that He is a God of truth, who is just and right (see Deut. 32:4).

God, who is our Father-Mother, made each one of us good, just like Himself/Herself. It might seem funny at first to think that you're made as good as God. But it's true. You have a spiritual self that is Godlike - loyal, trustworthy, and truthful. Ask God to show this to you, and He will.

Knowing that God made you loyal, trustworthy, and truthful, you can think about how to actually be this way.

Jesus is a good example of someone who was faithful and constant in his love for his disciples and friends. Even when they made mistakes and he was probably disappointed in them, he still kept helping them. He saw them perfect, the way God had made them, instead of not-so-good, the way they sometimes seemed to be. So he wasn't looking at their mistakes, but at their real, spiritual goodness and worth.

And you know, when Jesus saw anyone this way, they were changed! They were actually made better.

Jesus was sure you and I could see other people the way God made them to be. Even if someone has messed up, we can listen to God like Jesus did, and see his or her goodness. That's sticking up for someone. That's being loyal, trustworthy, and truthful.

If you want to be a better friend, here are some more ideas: Every day, try asking God to give you the thoughts you need to think. You can ask Him to show you what to do in any situation with other kids. Try right now to see your family and neighbors the way God sees each of them. (Since we all make mistakes sometimes, people think it's nice when someone sees them as better than their mistakes.) If you feel like you want to get into the spotlight by telling on someone or pointing out something bad about someone, you don't have to. Seeing the good in other kids and sharing good things about them - that's what will make most everyone want to be with you.

Being a better friend means you will have more friends. You can have a wonderful year at school!

Beauty, wealth, or fame is incompetent to meet the

demands of the affections, and should never weigh against

the better claims of intellect, goodness, and virtue.

Happiness is spiritual, born

of Truth and Love. It is

unselfish; therefore it cannot

exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.

Mary Baker Eddy

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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