I was walking down the street not long ago, and there was a looooong line outside the movie theatre. What's playing now? I wondered. I'd forgotten that the new Pokmon movie had just opened. Many critics said the movie was not very good. But it didn't look like any of these people had heard that.
Of course, a lot of kids were busy trading cards. But I was sorry that some were very unhappy. You know how tense things can get sometimes when people are trading cards.
A friend of mine loves Pokmon. But at one time, if he didn't get his way on a trade, he'd be in a bad mood for the rest of the day. Sometimes his parents insisted on a long time out. Maybe you've had some friends with the same problem.
The worst thing, though, is when friends start fighting with each other. Ever seen that happen? Someone decides a trade is unfair, or two friends both want the same card. Then they start calling each other names, and then they stop hanging out together.
But friends are very important. Did you know that the Bible says that God is Love? God brings friends into your life. Friendship is part of the good that comes from God. Actually, many people think of God as their best friend. I saw something in the Bible the other day about friends that I really liked: "A friend is a loving companion at all times, and a brother is born to share troubles" (Prov. 17:17, "The New English Bible").
We all need good companions, and if you're having troubles, it means a lot to have someone stand by you and help you out, just like a good brother or sister. A friend doesn't desert you when you're in trouble. And you can share your good times with a friend, too.
So here's a question: would you ever trade a friend for a Weedle? I don't think so! Almost everyone has a Weedle card. They're pretty easy to find.
But what if someone wanted to trade a holographic Gengar or a Blaines Arcanies? Would you trade a friendship for one of those? You might be the only one in school to have one. Would you fight with a friend for one of those?
I hope you said no. A friend is worth a lot more than a Pokmon card. A faithful friend is rare and very valuable. The book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, says that it's amazing that "a friend can ever seem less than beautiful" (see pg. 248).
If we want to keep our friends, we need good qualities. There are lots. Some of the ones I can think of are honesty, fairness, faithfulness, trustworthiness, unselfishness. What would you add to this list?
You wouldn't want to lie to a friend. You wouldn't want to be selfish. Because a friend is worth a lot more than any card or game or anything else. They last longer, too.
Last summer, my friend Erik collected Crazy Bones. Everywhere we went, he looked for them in the stores. He traded them. When we went on vacation, his bags of Bones were first to go into his suitcase.
But now he almost never plays with his Crazy Bones. He's into Pokmon. That's the thing now. It might be hard to believe, but one of these days, no one will be interested in Pokmon, either. There will be something new.
Fads come and go. Something is popular today, but tomorrow it's out, and something else is in. But if we're good to our friends, they'll last a lot longer than any of these games.
But what if a friend is acting really lame? Well then, it's important to remember that God is a best friend to both of you. God is a faithful friend. And God can bring healing to friends. God didn't make you or your friends to be selfish or unfair or mean. He made us all in His own likeness. Since God is good, God's likeness is good. Jesus showed this by forgiving his friends and his enemies. Love is a great healer.
So don't trade your friend for a Weedle. No, not even for a Rainbow Bird.
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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society