Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
In 1936, Dale Carnegie wrote a best-seller which is still in print today: How to Win Friends and Influence People. One of the sections is entitled, “Six ways to make people like you”. These ways included:
- Become genuinely interested in other people
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
- Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.
His writings are definitely very old by today’s standards, but the book is still being read. And one of the strong themes is be friendly to others. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it?—but have you noticed that a lot of people are not friendly? Living in a small country town or region is different. People tend to show more contact and reach out to others.
“There is a world of difference between being friendly to someone because they’re useful to you and being someone’s friend,” says John Ortberg.
In a survey (Psychology Today, quoted in Homemade, June 1982) more than 40,000 Americans said these qualities were most valued in a friend:
- The ability to keep confidences
- Warmth and affection
The Christian faith is all about involving others.
We read in the Bible, in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” This is God’s instruction for us, to be available for others even when it’s not convenient. The Christian faith is all about involving others, not just living for yourself. I like Proverbs 18:24 that says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly…” (NKJV), This means giving friendship and showing support. It’s not one-sided.
This Bible verse in Proverbs was written almost 3,000 years ago by King Solomon—a very wise man. He was very powerful, but he also realised the importance of being friendly. He was ruler of Israel, a thriving and powerful nation. He made enemies into his friends. He made time to show himself friendly to others, even his enemies.
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A friendly attitude
It’s not what you say—it’s your attitude, according to a popular saying. Do we have a friendly attitude?
Would you call yourself a ‘friendly’ person? Most of us probably see ourselves as being friendly. But what does it mean to be ‘friendly’? I looked up ‘friendly’ in the Webster’s Dictionary and this is how it’s defined: showing interest, goodwill, kindness, sympathetic, welcoming. Most of us would probably categorise ourselves as being ‘friendly’. Being friendly is a powerful and meaningful thing.
Being friendly is a powerful and meaningful thing.
For example, a friendly congregation in a church will attract people and grow, even if it has a hundred other things wrong with it. If you are perceived to be a friendly person, you most likely will have friends and people will like to be around you.
Being friendly is important. It requires some time and effort—but it is worth it in the end!
(To be continued in Are You Friendly to Others? – Part 2)