Parish of St Matthew the Apostle,
Douglas, Isle of Man

Young People's Corner

n June we thought about how and why we become friends with each other. We looked at appearance and characteristics of good and bad people including ourselves. This month it is worth thinking about why and how we behave when parting from previous friends. The ‘why’ is easy. We or they do not like what the other is saying or doing. The ‘how’ is more complex.

We could easily have a big disagreement: shout and throw a tantrum. Leaving on such terms can last for years or even a lifetime. Even so, we need to look at ourselves and realise that we each make our own lives by the decisions we make.

To begin with we must accept the situation, whatever it may be, and make the best choice we can. This may mean immediate sacrifice or inconvenience to gain a lasting benefit. Many people decide on immediate convenience to lose the lasting benefit, but the choice is yours.

Try never to make a choice that you know to be wrong: taking drugs, smoking, drinking too much and so on. Don’t even try, because the consequences can sometimes ruin your life. If your friends make fun of you because you have made the choice to say, ‘No,’ is infinitely better than having a lifetime of misery and lost opportunities.

Now, the breakup of the friendship. Sometimes people aren’t what they seem; they do and say things after a while which irritate us. What do we do? Do we just put up with it and hope it will go away? Walk away? Do nothing? Have an argument? Make your opinions know and have your say? This is your choice to make.

The friendship is over. How do you deal with it? If it is an emotional break up, there may be tears and all sorts of emotions: relief, disappointment, regret and so on. What do you do? Blame someone else, blame yourself? It is at this point that you need to work through your emotions and come to terms with them. Then take hope that this experience is part of a steep learning curve which will enable you to cope with other similar situations in the future.

If it is a break up between friends, this can be sometimes less emotional but just as painful. However, could an honest discussion have resolved the problem that had brought you to this point? Can you be reconciled, and do you want to? This is all about making choices and deciding which one to make. Sometimes it is a good idea to ask some else for their advice, ponder on that advice and think for yourself.

The best guide I know to help me think is Jesus. Do you know him? Try reading the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. When you do concentrate on painting a picture of Jesus’ character. By doing so you may come to realise that Jesus reacted differently to how the people of his time thought he would. In Jesus you will discover how a Christian should behave. There is nothing dull or conventional about his character. Why was Jesus and his disciples picking and eating grain while walking through the farmer’s field? His kindness to the Samaritan women at the well. Jesus’ sadness when he heard that his friend Lazarus and his annoyance with the money changers in the Temple. There are a great many more that you can find and enjoy finding them.

Ruth Solomon