Sunday, July 27, 2008

Qualities of a Christian

I have a good friend who is a devout Orthodox believer, and I spent some time with her the other day. She doesn't talk a lot about her convictions, but it's easy to see from her lifestyle that she's a Christian. She doesn't preach, but she has plenty of non-believing friends whom she loves and nurtures. I have never known her to drink alcohol, but I've been invited ice-skating on many occasions or simply to go for a stroll.

Now a first-time mother, my friend invited me for a walk in the park with the baby. We met up with her other friend, who also has a new baby. And my friend shared comforting baby advice with the other mother.

It struck me later as I was thinking about our time together that she doesn't gossip, and rarely complains. She shares news about her friends and family, but there is nothing malicious or fanciful about it. She's newly married, but has never said anything negative about her in-laws or the living situation. She's a new mother, but hasn't mentioned anything about being tired. As we walked, she told the baby gently not to fuss while she gave a little attention to Auntie Elizabeth.

She doesn't gossip, and here I am writing about her. I hope I'm not gossiping!


  1. Liz, sorry if I post too much on your blog. I have no friends here in Tallahassee, so when I come home from work I just try to fill that sense of loneliness by having some interactions on internet. (I often post on a forum related to my online businesss, which allows me to interact with like-minded people there).

    It's hard to make friends in real life when you are 40. But I often find my comfort in the Lord. In the Psalm 25 David says: "I am lonely and afflicted". If he felt that way, we can experience that too. So, I often find my comfort in Him. And He does extend His comfort.

    Anyway, what I actually wanted to say was this. My first pastor's wife, Anna, was a woman of a great character. I often was amazed how she was able to make everyone feel at home when people would visit her husband (who was a pastor of a growing church back in Russia). Anna was brought up baptist and had this quiet nature about her. With three kids and dozens of people visiting their small apartment on a daily basis, I never heard her say a negative word or expressing any frustration about their life or people who visited them. So, as I was reading your post I was taken back to 1994 to some small town in Russia to the time when I felt so blessed... Thank you.

  2. Don't you love it when you find people that make you grow or better in your walk with Christ. I love it when that happens.

  3. Vitali, I like your comments, they offer an interesting perspective. The Internet is great for finding people who are like-minded, but sometimes I have to thank the Lord if my Internet doesn't work, because it means I'm prompted to call a "real-life" friend or just spend some time in prayer.

    I think it's the less noticeable qualities that are the most striking in a person. Some people are praised all the time for being smart or athletic, etc., while no one recognizes their patience or kindness. Fruits of the Spirit give a person such a wonderful aura, even when you can't quite put into words what it is that makes him/her special.

  4. What a lovely post! Those are all very rare qualities and, indeed, qualities of a Christian. I recall a woman I knew, who had the most beautiful manner. Whenever she was in a conversation that slid into something at all unkind, complaining or gossipy, she would add to the conversation a very positive comment about the person, situation or place. I was so glad that God made me aware of this strategy as she used it, as I now try to do the same. It also makes me so much more aware of when I slip into an unnecessarily negative observation.

  5. Agree.

    I think what Solomon said in Proverbs 16:32 still stands true for the 21st Russia or America:

    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city."

    Those are the kinds of people I like to hang around with.

    What you said in your post is very powerful too:

    "Fruits of the Spirit give a person such a wonderful aura, even when you can't quite put into words what it is that makes him/her special."


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