By Melisa Manampiring, Indonesia
In my younger days, I used to be a bookworm. My time was spent mainly in studying, going to school and attending church services. I was dead focused on getting the best grades at school. I was a quiet person and my schoolmates considered me strange. I felt that socializing would bring my grades down until I met an upperclassman in my second year of junior high school. He is also my cousin.
My cousin freely offers his time to help others with schoolwork. He always put others before himself. Yet, he is still able to win many national and international mathematics and physics competitions. To relax, he reads comics, plays games and hangs out with his friends. Through his life, I learnt that one could work hard and play hard too.
Due to his example, I decided to get more involved in my church community by agreeing to be the treasurer in the teen group for 2 years. I also learnt to open my heart to friendship. But my life in junior high school remained unexciting. I studied at an elite, private school where the majority of the students come from well-to-do families. They socialize with people of the same wealth and status only.
However, it was a different scenario in senior high school. The students were from different backgrounds, of different social status, and of different ethnic groups and religions. I was blessed with 3 new friends, who are very different from each other, and who are still my close friends today. They have taught me precious lessons on the real meaning of friendship and life.
For example, they have taught me to . . .
1. Treasure people more than material things.
2. Care for others and not be egotistical.
3. Be willing to spend time to build meaningful relationships.
I thank God for these friends and my cousin whom God has brought into my life. They were His instruments in shaping me to become whom I am today. In Proverbs 28:7, we read: “Young people who obey the law are wise; those with wild friends bring shame to their parents” (NLT). The implication of this verse is clear: we need friends who will help us obey God’s law.