Bible Society of South Africa
Benescke Janse van Rensburg

A new start – Day 15

A new start … by making new friends

Bible text(s)

5Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.”

Hebrews 13:5GNBOpen in Bible reader

At times, when I read the e-mails that I have received from readers or listen to the conversations of the people around me, I cannot help but wonder if a new disease has not crept in amongst us, without us even realising it. You cannot detect this disease by doing blood tests, but it eats away at a person’s soul with the aim to destroy your confidence. An epidemic – known as loneliness.

Recently, I overheard a conversation in which a woman told how she sometimes becomes so lonely, that she speaks to the kitchen walls, just to feel that someone is with her in her home. Is that how you are feeling today and how does one make new friends?

In 1920, the psychologist, George W. Crane, taught an evening class in social psychology at the Northwest University of Chicago. Amongst the class members, sat a girl named Lois. After Lois accepted a job in Chicago, she left her friends and family behind in the small rural town, Wisconsin, and moved to Chicago. During her loneliness at night, she often wrote letters to her friends at home.

After one of the evening classes, she told Crane about her feelings of isolation. This conversation gave Crane an idea for a new project, which he later named the “Compliments Club”. This assignment ran over a period of 30 days.

In order to pass the project successfully, each student had to give three honest compliments to three different people daily. At the end of the 30 days, each student had to write an essay about their experience, including: how did your compliments influence the people around you and how did the project change your perspective on life?

Initially, most of the students were negative or cautious about the project, as they feared rejection. However, they all were prepared to participate.

When George Crane read the essays that he got back from the students at the end of the project, there was a smile on his face. All the students said that they could see and feel how their honest compliments had a positive effect on the people around them. Most of the students acknowledged that the project had completely changed their perspective on life and people around them.

This project also changed Lois’s life. She not only become a jovial person, but also through implementing the principles from the “Compliments Club”, she made more and better friends in Chicago than those she had left behind in Wisconsin.

Do you feel lonely today? May I encourage you with God’s words in Hebrews 13:5: “I will never leave, nor forsake you.”

Start looking for opportunities to reach out to the people around you and give them honest compliments. You might be amazed at how this will change your life! God bless.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.13.12
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