1. Why do my friends fight over who gets to be the leader—even if it’s just a feeling and not said with words?
2. Why are some girls mean sometimes and nice sometimes?
3. Do I have to share my things (and my family!) even when I don’t want to?
4. How do you know if someone is a true friend?
5.What can I do if someone wears weird clothes and stuff but keeps trying to be friends with me?
6.Is there anything I can do if the populars whisper secrets about me?
7.How do you know whom to invite to a party, whom to leave out, and how to do it all nicely?
8.What can I do if one friend wants to hog me all the time?
9. Is it okay if friends are angry with one another?
10.Can I help make my friend a better Christian? Can someone make me a better Christian?
The girls in my class are my friends, but we often fight over silly stuff like who gets to be the leader of our plans. Why can’t we just take turns?
Preschoolers have to learn how to take turns. They’re grabby—they take what they want no matter who else wants it. They cut in line and don’t care who sees. They play with a toy for a long time, even if someone is waiting. Usually, a parent or a teacher steps in to make them share.
When kids are older, like you are, being selfish isn’t so obvious. It’s being left out because you didn’t play by the leaders’ unspoken rules. Someone takes the best prize at a party. People pout and punish if their ideas aren’t followed. As you get older, the adults around you tend to see less, because selfishness is happening under the surface. You’re not supervised as much. That can actually be a good thing. Why? Because it allows you to be a leader by making Christlike choices rather than being forced to by an adult.
Christianity is the upside-down faith. The world says, “Get as much as you can.” Jesus says, “Give away your coat.” The world says, “Keep away from unpopulars.” Jesus says, “Visit the sick and those in prison.” The world says, “Get your turn.” Jesus says, “Those who are first will be last.” Choose friends who aren’t going to be bossy all of the time. Those kinds of people don’t easily change. But within a group of friends, start leading upside down. Let others choose the game. Sit quietly until you’re asked what you’d like. Go to the back; take the smallest prize. You’ll be surprised. When you stop looking out for yourself and are interested in others, many people will rally around to be interested in you! Think of it like a snow globe. When it’s right-side up, it looks okay. When you turn it upside down, you can see beautiful things you didn’t see before.
List three ways you can be an upside-down leader in your family or group of friends.
Everyone who makes himself great will be made humble. But the person who makes himself humble
will be made great. Luke 14:11
Why do some girls like you one day and then the next day they’re mean to you? I don’t know what to do about it.
Well, the first thing you have to do is define what “mean” is. When I have a problem, I first look at myself and my own behavior. Give it a try. Were you coming on too strong? Did a girl invite you to do one thing and then you wanted to do everything with her? If so, she might have chilled things down a bit to get some space. It wouldn’t feel good, but it wouldn’t be mean.
However, if you’ve checked yourself out and found that your behavior is okay, then look at the other girl. What happens when a gardener plants a lemon tree? It grows up and soon produces lemons. First, only one or two lemons appear. They might even look like limes or oranges at first, from a distance, or it looks like just a plain old tree. As the tree gets more and more established, more lemons grow. Soon the tree is covered with lemons. It’s clearly a lemon tree.
When you first get to know someone, you assume the best. She’s probably nice. She wants to be kind. You do a few things with her. Maybe one or two lemons pop out, but overall, good things are happening. However, as you spend more and more time with her and watch her in action, you see more lemons. Even if she tries to fake being nice, it won’t work very long. Why not? Because she’s growing lemons in her heart, not just in her actions.
Jesus said that whatever is in the heart of a person comes out through his or her mouth. A lemon tree can’t fake being an orange tree by painting its fruit orange. Soon enough you’d take a bite and know it was a lemon. In the same way, a truly mean-hearted person can fake good words or deeds when it benefits her, but she can’t cover it up forever. What’s in her heart will always come out.
Don’t waste your time trying to change this person from a lemon tree to an orange tree. Only God can do that. Don’t waste your time wondering why this person is a lemon tree. She is. Instead, look around you and find a nice apple, pear, peach, or cherry tree to befriend. Until she allows God to change her heart, a mean person is always going to serve lemons.
Is there a friend you keep trying to please so she’ll be kind to you?
Are you able to change a lemon tree into an orange tree? Can you change another person’s heart by anything you do?
A tree is identified by its fruit. Make a tree good, and its fruit will be good. Make a tree bad, and its fruit will be bad.... For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good words from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil words from an evil heart.Matthew 12:33–35 NLT
My family has an exchange student living with us this summer. From now on, it will be for six weeks every summer! I don’t want to share my room with her. I really don’t want to be her friend. What can I do?
It’s not easy to take the normal rhythm of your house and suddenly change tunes. Your family becomes like a little band—everyone knows what instrument he or she plays and plays his or her part. Your family gets used to having a drum, a guitar, a piano, and a flute. It’s beautiful music and a comfortable sound.
Now a clarinet has moved in. Things feel and sound kind of strange. Not what you’re used to. You always did fine without a clarinet, and now you have to make room in your music for her parts. She squeaks and squawks sometimes. You have to find pieces that include parts for a clarinet. Everybody has to shuffle around her.
That’s kind of what it feels like when a foreign exchange student moves into your home. Suddenly your parents have to make time for her. You change your family schedule to accommodate her needs, too. She sounds funny. She doesn’t like your food, which makes her seem like an ingrate. She not only has to share your room, but she wants to change your room! I don’t blame you for not wanting to be her friend.
But if you look at it from her point of view, it’s really scary. She’s changed her whole band. She can feel your vibe—you don’t like her so much. It makes her feel vulnerable. The food is weird. She can’t understand what people are saying. She doesn’t know when to talk and when to be quiet or what to wear. She needs someone to guide her. That someone is you.
For this short time, include her, kindly, into your life. Make her stay as comfortable as you can. Swallow your hurt feelings and share, even when you have to grit your teeth to do it. Ask God to change your feelings. He can! Then ask Him to fill the rest of your summer with such joy, peace, and happiness that it will make your sacrifice worthwhile. You might find out you like clarinet music. Someday you will be the stranger. Try to treat your exchange student as you’d want someone to treat you. As a friend.
Have you ever had an exchange student, an extended family member, or someone not normally a part of your family live with you?
What is the hardest part of that? What is the best part?
Whom can you treat kindly, as if you were being kind to your Lord? (Because, really, you are....)
I was alone and away from home, and you invited me into your house.... Then the good people will answer, “Lord ... when did we see you alone and away from home and invite you into our house? ...” Then the King will answer, “I tell you the truth. Anything you did for any of my people here, you also did for me.” Matthew 25:35, 37–38, 40
How do you know if someone is a true friend?
In this world everyone wants to “look out for number one,” meaning themselves. It’s hard to tell who is a true friend and who is a false friend. Smart girls like you start by considering a few friendship facts:
1. Not all friends need to be equal friends. Some friends are really “acquaintances,” people we see from time to time, people we like but who really aren’t involved in our lives. It’s okay to have lots of acquaintances. In fact, if you try to make all of your acquaintances your friends, you soon won’t have enough time for real friends!
2. Not all friends are good friends. Friends who try to control you, friends who boss you around, and friends who backstab you really aren’t friends. Sometimes we know that in our hearts, but we don’t want to face it. Don’t be afraid to leave bad friendships. God will replace them with good friendships.
3. Real friends will allow you to put them first sometimes, but they will also put you first sometimes. Like a teeter-totter! Sometimes you’re up when they are down. You give them a push, and for a while, you’re balanced. Sometimes they’re up when you’re down. They’ll give you a push, and then you’re balanced for a while. Real friendships are equal friendships. They both help and allow you to help.
In the Bible, Job had many problems. His livestock and servants were stolen and burned—kind of like losing your whole business in a fire with no fire insurance. His house was destroyed. His children died. Job got very sick. He did have some friends, though. Now, his friends didn’t do and say everything right. But they were good friends. They left their own homes and businesses to be with a friend who was sad and in trouble. They focused on Job when he was down and needed them. They comforted him. They stayed with him. Sometimes they reminded Job of God’s goodness and power. When Job was down, they pushed him back up again! The Bible doesn’t tell us if Job did the same for them, but his character showed that he honored God and others. That is a true friend.
What does true friendship mean to you?
Who is a true friend to you? Have you thanked her lately?
Now Job had three friends....These friends heard about the troubles that had happened to Job. So they agreed to meet and go see Job. They wanted to show him they were upset for him, too. And they wanted to comfort him. Job 2:11
A man walked by me. He had tattoos all up and down his arms—kind of freaky-looking ones. His hair was chopped back. He had on black boots with studs on the side. As he walked by, his Tshirt caught my eye. It said, Body piercing saved my life. I thought, What? I had already decided in my heart this guy was scary and weird, but I turned around to look back at him. When I did, I caught the picture on the back of his T-shirt.
It was a picture of Jesus on the cross.
Jesus’ hands and feet were pierced. Jesus’ body piercing saved my life, too. I felt sad that I had made such a snappy judgment against a brother in Christ.
It’s so easy to judge a person by the outside. We do it all the time. But the Bible teaches that life consists of far more than food and clothing. It is made up of what is inside a person’s heart—her thoughts, her intentions, her deeds, her spirit. What is inside is much more important than what is outside.
Give the new girl a chance. You don’t have to be friends with her. But before you make that decision, see what’s on the inside. After all, we all know perfectly dressed people who are lemons inside.
What kind of clothes are easy for you to judge people by?
What’s the best way you know of to determine if a person is worth choosing as a friend or not?
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t look at how handsome Eliab is. Don’t look at how tall he is. I have not chosen him. God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Chatting With Girls Like You: 61 More Real-Life Questions With Answers From the Bible by Sandra Byrd
Copyright © 2004 ; ISBN 0764227548
Published by Bethany House Publishers