I knew I was right, my oldest brother had been heavily involved in offroad racing and I knew I had better information than Jesse (true name withheld). It was the early 90’s and I had been to a few races but I lived vicariously through my two eldest brothers’ experiences in off road endeavors. I felt like I had “inside knowledge” and more information than any of my friends. Jesse was an acquaintance, 2 years younger, in my metal shop class and his older brother raced offroad as well. He always spoke of his brother getting offers to drive with large race teams, the amazing opportunities to drive $500k vehicles, and offers of sponsorship through large vendors. I always argued these facts as being impossible due to his brother’s age yet, I tried to maintain the friendship at arm’s length just in case there was some truth to the tales. Two years later Jesse’s brother signed a one season contract to drive for a successful team and a big name sponsor. Two years after that he entered the ranks of NASCAR drivers. Wow, the tales were true.

Since I constantly argued my position with Jesse, figuring he was in err, and held him at arm’s length, a friendship never developed, only an acquaintance. I tried to build a friendship with him by reasoning, convincing his mind. This approach didn’t work too well for me.

Now 20 years down the road I realize the error in my ways, friendship is only entered through the heart with time and love.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. (John 10:1, 2 NASB)

I now realize that I will never win a true friend by “going over the gate”, reasoning and mental wrangling. I will never win a true friend by “sneaking through a window,” showing them what I have. I will never win a true friend by “tunneling under a wall,” telling them what they want to hear. The only way to experience true friendship is through building a voice in their life, through loving them where they are and as God sees them. They will learn to “know your voice” because you sit and listen, you have more concern for the relationship than being right. Then you can “go through the gate” to their heart.

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