If you are a baby boomer or a music aficionado, you remember this song from WAR came out in 1975. It has a catchy tune and simple lyrics. It begs the question, “Why can’t people get along and actually be friends with one another?”
I have thought long and hard about this and realized that there is no simple answer. If there was, we would have no more war, no more fighting, no more divorce, no more need for prisons. Can you imagine a world like that? I can.
I don’t think it is crazy to envision a world of peace and work towards that goal, albeit a goal that is constantly eluding our grasp. Why pursue something that is unattainable? Isn’t that crazy? Isn’t that absurd? Well, maybe not. Maybe it is that we must understand and embrace the frailty of man, and realize that that we all are a work in progress. Maybe we need to cut each other a little slack.
Our standards should never be lowered to the common denominator of our culture. If we keep dumbing down society to pacify one another, what have we really accomplished? We have to have basic values that we accept as the foundation upon which we build, and they cannot change without destroying that foundation.
That is why our Constitution and Bill of Rights are so important. The founding fathers of this country knew that we had to spell out our beliefs clearly in order to have a future free from tyranny. That is why for me, the Bible is so critical. It is so much more than a history book. It is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
Back to the question, “Why can’t we be friends?” While it is rhetorical in one sense, it is worth asking when we encounter those that are our opposites. We all have people who come into our lives at some point and they push our buttons. They seem to know how to get under our skin and really irritate us. It could be a spouse, a child, a co-worker, an ex, a neighbor, or even a stranger on the highway. The world seems to be filled with irritating people at times.
So, if you are in that place where the world if full of crazy people, is it really everyone else who is crazy, or do we need to look in the mirror. Now I know what you are thinking, “You don’t know my boss!” Or, “You have not met my ex!!!” True, but what if you could actually be friends with those that irritate you? Is that possible? Call me crazy, but I think it is.
Here are some steps to being friends with those that irritate you that you might at least consider:
- Quit dwelling on everything that they do or say that irritates you. Start looking for something positive in them and dwell on the positive. Nobody is perfect, so quit demanding that from others.
- Forgive them for whatever they have said or done in the past that pushed your button. Why hold on to something that is just going to become a root of bitterness in you? Does that even make sense? Forgive them and move forward for your own sanity as well as for the benefit of both of you.
- Quit trying to change other people. You can’t make them love you, respect you, or even be kind to you. What you CAN do is love THEM, show respect to THEM, and be kind to THEM even if they don’t deserve it. When you are able to do that, you become free indeed. Whether or not they ever respond is not your problem. You do the right thing and positive things will happen.
There is a proverb that says, “As much as is possible, be at peace with all people.” The author knew that being friends with everyone is not possible, but it is a worthy goal. We still have to stand up to evil when we encounter it. That is a given. What we can do is to do our part to be peacemakers. We can be the ones who seek to restore that which was lost or stolen. In the end, isn’t that more important than holding on to hurt feelings? Isn’t that more important than the need to be right? The lyrics from another song says it all, “Put a little love in your heart.”