“Let your conversation be always full of grace” (Colossians 4:6).

I am known to be an attentive observer. I listen to words, take in gestures, and notice eye contact. I pay attention to how voices fill a room and recognize when words are genuine or simply filling space to buffer closeness. But what I most often detect is how we push one another away in our busyness. We speak of our time as little; ironically, taking time to let others know of our filled schedules. No wonder so many people around us are lonely…maybe even you.

You can put a potted plant in your home and it will look lovely for a time. However, if you choose not to water the plant, it will eventually show neglect. Many people live like this plant — vibrant on the outside until they begin to feel undone; thirsty for a genuine hug or conversation with someone who truly knows them. They make time to meet with a friend, pouring into one another much-needed nourishment. And then they remove themselves, returning to a routine which leaves little time for introspection. The cycle continues despite best intentions to connect more often.

So, perhaps it is good to nourish our souls with some of the qualities of a friend. Please look with me to Colossians 3:1-17. The truths of these timeless verses might prove to help us succeed in our time…and in our relationships.

These verses center around holy living; they also resonate as key points in how we can become a better friend to others.

1. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things (vs. 2)

2. Put to death what separates you from God: impurity, greed, etc. (vs.5)

3. Rid yourself of such things like anger, malice, slander, etc. (vs. 7)

4. “Do not lie to each other” (vs. 9)

5. Remember, Jesus came for ALL the world…you are no better or worse than the sinner next to you (vs. 11)

6. Clothe yourself with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (vs.12)

7. Forgive each other just as the Lord has forgiven you (vs.13)

8. Above all…put on LOVE (vs.14)

9. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (vs.15)

10. Be thankful (vs. 15)

11. Engage in God’s Living Word and let it live in you and through you as an offering of gratitude (vs. 16)

12. “And whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (vs. 17)

The idea of actually putting on love frees my focus to be more generous and hopeful, offering me a view beyond myself. I no longer feel so preoccupied IN the world; rather, I understand and live for the one Who came FOR the world. Yes, in putting on the love of Christ, what is inside me also becomes affected by Christ’s presence, peace, and comfort. In turn, I choose to positively and genuinely affect the space around me rather than simply fill space with busyness and distractions.

May we take time this week to be a friend to someone, to put on love, and to move forward as a representative of Christ rather than this world.

How can you put on love today?

SGLY, dear readers.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. You can find her newly released books, “H.E.R.O. Faith” and “Bad Disciples” on Amazon. To submit feedback on SGLY, please contact news@amtrib. com.