[their] own way” or they will drive me away. They must agree to humbly accept me as I am or not accept me at all. This does not mean a friend does not correct their friend, or seek to protect a friend from what they see as danger. It does mean they know when
to do this and they do it with great care and deep affection. This takes great wisdom, joined with deep, growing love if it is to be done well. In my marriage, as well as in all my long-term friendships (which are, mercifully, more numerous than what I have seen in most men my age), I am not
a project for my truest friends but rather a person dearly loved for who I am, weaknesses and all.
Finally, Cassian says that genuine friendship means you will “prefer to do what [your] neighbor wishes.” The apostle says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Love, the key to lasting friendship, is always “other” centered. I have to work hard at this because by nature I talk too much. I can dominate and I tend to think first of myself in speech because this is how my mind works. This is a huge problem and I lived this way until I reached my 40s in age. I have to continually learn to quiet my mind and then ask the other person (my friend), “How are you doing?” Then I need to really listen. This is extremely hard for me. But because this has been my weakness it also reminds me daily that I must “put on love” for my friends or I will have no friends at the end of the day. My wife, who is my best friend, has helped me immensely to think of others first. She has urged me to always ask, “How are you doing?” before I launch into my own words.
Tomorrow: True Friendship (3)