RESPECT FOR OTHERS ENRICHES OUR RELATIONSHIPS.
Bible Reading of the Day: Read 2 Samuel 9:6-10.
Verse of the Day: “A real friend sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).
Tess and Cora were rollerblading together at the city park when they saw Stephanie, one of their classmates. The two girls waved at the same time, and Stephanie waved back from across the wide lawn.
“Didn’t you and Stephanie used to be friends?” Cora asked, as she and Tess paused by the drinking fountain to take a break and tighten the laces on their inline skates.
“We still are,” Tess answered.
“Yeah, but I mean, didn’t you use to be really close friends?”
“Yeah, I guess so.” Cora was right; Tess and Stephanie used to be extremely close. They spent almost all their spare time together. They could even complete each other’s sentences. But Stephanie had a few habits that bothered Tess. She would make fun of Tess in front of their other friends. She often interrupted when Tess was speaking, and when Tess would object or get upset, Stephanie would respond with a comment like, “Grow up” or “Get a life!” Stephanie would even pull Tess’s hair and punch her in the arm when Tess did or said something she didn’t like.
For a long time, Tess had put up with her friend’s behavior, but as she matured, she realized that Stephanie’s conduct was disrespectful. But when she told her friend how she felt, Stephanie became angry and treated Tess even more rudely than before.
Since that time, Tess had tried to remain Stephanie’s friend, but refused to let Stephanie be disrespectful and boss her around.
“So what happened?” Cora asked, interrupting Tess’s thoughts.
“What?” Tess said, before she belatedly understood Cora’s question. “Oh,” she answered, “we just kinda drifted apart.”
“Why?” Cora asked, pressing for an answer.
“Is it OK with you if I don’t answer that question?”
Cora shrugged. “Sure,” she said.
“I thought so.” Tess smiled at her friend. “That’s why I really appreciate your friendship. You, uh … you respect me, and I respect you.”
“Well, sure,” Cora said. “Isn’t that what friends are supposed to do?”
“Yeah,” answered Tess. “It sure is.”
TO DISCUSS: In today’s Bible reading, who respected whom? In the story above, how did Tess show respect for Stephanie, even though she disagreed with her? How did Cora show respect for Tess? How do you think showing respect to others strengthens and enriches your relationships?
TO PRAY: “Lord, even when we disagree with friends, help us to respect them.”