Husband & Wife Articles


 

Bible-Style Relationships

God’s word can help us overcome loneliness and find friends

By Rob Guinan

As parents, we pray for our children to find good friendships because we know how valuable they are. St. Thomas Aquinas said it best: “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” But what happens when a best friend moves away, or a long-time friend takes a wrong turn? What about when someone your kids want to be friends with doesn’t reciprocate or, worse, takes them for granted?

Whenever this has happened to me, I have turned to the Bible for relationship advice. I’ve noticed that biblical stories offer lessons in building friendships, and often these friendships come about when one person uses or shares his skills. In fact, developing your skills and offering them in service to others seem to be a biblically tested way to make new, even better friendships. How? They open doors by inviting opportunities for our interests. They ward off loneliness when we share our talents with others. They lend importance to everyday life, no matter what your age, by helping us realize a fuller life.

Rob and Sharon Guinan.

For example, in the Book of Exodus, we see a “call” for artisans of all types to help construct the temple. Everyone from clothiers to construction workers lend their talents. “All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded” (Ex 35:10). In the Book of Samuel, we see that Saul and Jonathan practiced archery. King David enjoyed music, playing the harp and dancing. We even see him dancing before the ark. Incidentally, King David and Jonathan were the best of friends.  

The New Testament also showcases skills in service to others. In the Book of Acts we discover that Aquila, Priscilla and St. Paul were all accomplished tent makers. In the same book we learn about a woman named Dorcas who was a highly respected seamstress. Her work must’ve been quite impressive because when St. Peter visited there, the women in the village were quick to show him the handiwork of Dorcas. And we all know the disciples practiced the fine art of fishing.

By following their interests and developing their skills, your kids will improve themselves and meet many liked-minded persons who could become short-term or life-long friends.

Do they like to learn? Bring them to a library or museum.

Do they like sports? There must be a dozen skills classes and leagues in your area where they can play with kids their own age.

Do they like to explore? Consider hiking, camping or neighborhood tour groups.  

Do they like music? Have them take instrument lessons or join the church choir.

Do they collect things? You can find amateur groups that collect stamps, coins, or memorabilia of all sorts.

If your children want something truly rewarding they could be a goodwill missionary in their own neighborhood by volunteering at a local nursing home or community project. They could make great friends among the needy and the elderly.

Don’t let your kids give into boredom, or lose themselves in video games, or settle for a diminished idea of friendship. Our Lord gave us a world of wonder. Encourage them to find skills that will set them on new adventures. They’ll find that the time they invest in their interests will have a healthy personal return, and maybe help them make new friends in the process. 

Rob Guinan is the author of Anne Among Us: First Fear … Then Miscarriage. A Catholic Father’s Diary (Quaker Lane Crossing). He worked as a staff writer for an international bank.