One letter can make all the difference. Today, while playing Word with Friends, I noticed two words with total opposite meanings separated by one small letter – “R”.
Fiend – Friend.
What turns a fiend into a friend? The “R” can stand for:
RESPECT – Show proper respect to everyone… I Peter 2:17a When we begin to look at people as worthy of our attention instead of ignoring them, or worse shunning them, our attitude shifts 180 degrees. Even if your political, religious or lifestyle choices are different than mine, you and I have one thing in common: we are human.We are precious in God’s eyes. We are created by a caring God and have a purpose. We both share the same oxygen for a reason.
And Christ died on the cross for us equally. I am no better than you and vice versa. Whether we may have made horrid mistakes in our lives or have lived a good, sheltered and honorable one without so much as a speeding ticket, we are both flawed by sin and are in need of a Savior.
RELATIONSHIP – In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5 It is hard to view another human being as a non-entity once we take the chance and begin a relationship. People are often friendlier in small towns because everyone knows each other, and are somewhat dependent on each other. In large metropolises, people become more anonymous. Neighbors may barely identify each other in a crowd, much less know each other’s name. People pass each other on the street without eye contact. They covet their private space. If you aren’t known by them, you are invisible. You are a faceless number. But not to our Lord. How many faceless people have passed by you today? How many did you make eye contact with and smile?
REGARD – So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 2 Corinthians 5:16 If I do not care about you, then I can’t call you a friend. But if I see you for the potential you can be, as Christ sees you, then suddenly your good points outweigh your flaws. Not that I can change you, that’s God’s job. But I can change my attitude towards you. I can put on the spectacles of godly love and see you differently than the world sees you.
When asked, Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
An old hymn sings of what a friend we have in Jesus. He wants us to take the “r” into our world so we can respect, regard and then develop relationships with our fellow human beings for one purpose: so we can lead others to another “r” – redemption. That way, we will become eternally friends.