“If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, if all men count with you, but none too much…”

I’m at a loss here.

The foes part is easy: keeping your guard up, not giving your foes solid ammunition to use against you, not allowing them access to your weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

But the loving friends part…?

Well, to love is to risk being hurt. He didn’t say “mere acquaintances” or social media connections. He said, “loving friends”.

Loving friends.

I know that one can hold seemingly opposing views and find the harmony. Yet, I’m coming up short how you can keep loving friends from hurting you. I’m reading this as people in your closest of circles. Anyone outside that perimeter, I can see holding a degree of indifference where their actions or words cannot hurt you, or hurt you badly.

I wish I had more to offer here. I’ve been chewing on this one for damn near a month and a half!

How does one keep loving friends from being able to hurt you without having some degree of detachment to that loving friend where they aren’t inside that circle?

“If all men count with you, but none too much…”

Well, now this piece is slightly easier.

Again, building off yesterday’s post regarding crowds and Kings, you can easily springboard into this meaning a bit easier.

Respect, integrity, not favoring one man over another due to position or influence; being “no respecter of persons”, as it were. Not letting them count so much that they negatively impact the direction you have chosen for life. Not letting them count so much that they have the reigns on your life.

Again, this plays on the spectrum, similar to the first part. It is a bit easier to draw the line on where they don’t count too much… but then again, to chew on this verse a bit where “all men count with you”…?

You and I can both think of men that, in our minds, do not deserve to be “counted”. So maybe it is about basic respect for your fellow man. That small degree of respect and grace we give, even to the worst of us, knowing that they too are mortal, broken and fighting their own demons and, as Dickens says “fellow sojourners to the grave.” I am not advocating a limp wristed “understanding” here of the worst among us, perhaps encouraging a small degree of pity.

I’m spitballing here, really. Just trying to work this verse out.

So, I’d really like to hear from you, dear reader, on this one.

Let’s hear what you have to say!