Rev. John Farmer’s ‘Reflections’ column

by John Howard Farmer

Visit the Irvington Baptist Church website

We are responsible for  who we are becoming 

In this sad time of civil disappointment and unrest, I thought to revisit a checklist of words from our mutual past. I fear we are so deep not-in-love with one another these days, that it is adversely affecting tomorrow’s humanity.

Here is a memory verse through which we might filter all that permeates life of late: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another,” John 13:34.

We cannot make someone love us, all we can do is be someone who can be loved, the rest is up to others; no matter how much care, some people just don’t care back; it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.

It’s not what we have in your life but whom we have in our lives that matters. We can get by on charm for about 15 minutes, after that we’d better know something; and we shouldn’t compare ourselves to the best others can do.

You can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life; it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

We should always leave loved ones with loving words it may be the last time you see them.

We can keep going long after we can’t; we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel; either we control our attitude or it controls us.

Heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences. Money is a lousy way of keeping score.

Good relationships are so mutually supporting. My best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

Sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

Sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

True friendship continues to grow even over the longest distance—same goes for true love.

Just because someone doesn’t love us the way we want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love us with all they have.

Maturity has more to do with what types of experiences we’ve had and what we’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays we’ve celebrated.

You should never tell a child that their dreams are unlikely or outlandish; few things are more humiliating and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it.

Your family won’t always be there for you; it may seem funny, but people you aren’t related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again—families aren’t simply biological.

No matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while, and you must forgive them for that. It isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others, sometimes we have to learn to forgive ourselves.

Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

Just because two people argue, it doesn’t have to mean we don’t love each other and just because we don’t argue, it may mean we do. And we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

We shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret, it could change our lives forever. If it is a secret, it may not be ours to repeat! 

Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

No matter how we try to protect our children, they will eventually get hurt and we will hurt in the process.

Our lives can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know us.

Even when we think we have no more to give, when a friend cries out to us, we must find the strength to help. Credentials on one’s wall do not make us decent human beings; but love in our hearts makes us the best helpers—no matter the situation.

No matter how bad our heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for our grief. The people we care about most in life are taken from us too soon, for sure. But the grief of others may not replicate the grief in our hearts. Listen to their hearts above our own experiences.

It’s hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people’s feelings and also standing up for what we believe. Please check that “Love Filter” before we react. 

(adapted)