Summary: We must first love ourselves before we can love others. Looking at our friends should help us define who we are but not at the expense of ourselves.

Nornan, what a mess.

Jim burns tells a story of a friend of his named Norman. Some of you know someone like him. Norman was the type of person to change fads and friends very quickly. During his high school years, Norman was a:

i. Surfer

ii. Punk rocker

iii. Football team manager

iv. Cross country runner

v. Drummer in a rock band

vi. Cowboy

vii. High school band member

viii. Drama club member

ix. Skateboarder

x. Student body officer

xi. Student leader at church

xii. Heavy drinker

Norman would move quickly from one crowd to another. He was like a chameleon. Every time he changed friends, he became a diff person. His new friends had a “big” influence on which he was. As you can imagine, this influence wasn’t always positive.

In talking with Norman, Jim heard him say, “I don’t like the real Norman, so I am trying to be someone I respect.”

Are some of us like this? Have we ever made new friends and changed the way we dress, acted or talked? Does this define out self worth? What does?

What are some of the names for the groups within your schools? Ex. Goth, preps, jocks

What makes these people different?

Our teenage years are spent trying to find ourselves, some people never do. But most of those people allow the world, society and friends dictate who or what they are?

The next 4 weeks we are going to talk about Friends: Friend of self, friend of peers, friends of parents/siblings, and friends of adults. Tonight we are going to look at being a friend to self and that we are to love ourselves before we can love/befriend anyone else.

Most of our time is spent with friends. At school, church, and social settings, normally we have friends there. When we are at home we are usually talking with friends, either on the phone or online. Because of technology, we are able to stay more in touch and have a wider friend base.

Because of that base, we must first be aware of who we are, before we can decide on what friends we are going to hang out with. So what am I talking about? I am talking about self-esteem and maybe “self love”. This isn’t about being cocky or full of yourself, even though that is sometimes ok.

Having self esteem or self-love does not mean we go around talking about ME all the time. Actually, we are called to self-love.

(Get someone to read Mark 12:29-31)

The question is asked of Jesus, what is the greatest commandment. He tells them, love the Lord God with all your heart, your mind and your soul and your strength. The Second greatest is to Love your neighbor as yourself. Now, normally, we would look at this verse as “Love your neighbor” and use that as a way to treat other people, and we will in the next couple weeks. But tonight we are going to look at the “As Yourself” part.

One of my biggest problems at my jobs has been my confidence. Not that normal confidence is bad, but because I am very outspoken about it. I have no problem telling people about me and my capabilities, even to the point of sounding stuck up and rude. Am I a bad person for feeling this way? Is it wrong? No, as long as we don’t try to put others down because they are not in that position.

So how do we choose the right friends? Or how do we have self love without being labeled a stuck-up? Two things:

1. Know yourself and Be yourself. Find out what it is you like before you let someone else tell you what they like. This can range from everything to clothes to music to the movies we watch. And this is hard, because everyone is telling us what to like. From parents to friends, to businesses to teachers, everyone has an opinion of what we should be like and how it should make us feel.

2. Experience the Freedom. You don’t have to be under anyone’s mold except God. He created us in His image and as long as we are working toward that goal, then everything else is superficial. If we want to be a Christian Goth, we can be. God doesn’t care what we look like on the outside but where our heart is on the inside.


Let me finish the story of Norman. Sometime later in Norman’s high school years, he started getting much more serious about his Christian commitment and the church youth group.

In the church youth fellowship he found a crowd of people who came from different groups at school, but they seemed to get along well at church. He found friends in the church who actually liked him for who he was. They didn’t try to turn him into someone else. As Norman became more comfortable with his new Christian friends, he began to open up about his hurts and past mistakes. They accepted him, and he felt loved. He came to understand God’s love through the unconditional love of his friends.

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