The events of the last few weeks have shaken us to the core. We are heartbroken and continue to mourn all those precious souls that we lost, while praying for the return of the hostages. Many are afraid for the future and we have learnt who our true friends are.
The news is filled with tragedy. Though occasionally it is interwoven with small glimpses of hope, which we hold on to desperately, to help us get through these dark times.
Countless messages are currently being shared through social media. Nervous friends send alarming reports and upbeat friends send messages of encouragement. Hamas is a terror organisation and their aim is to spread fear. The texts we read either amplify the fear or strengthen our natural resilience.
The people we spend time with have a huge effect on our mood and our attitude. Motivational speaker and entrepreneur Jim Rohn explains: “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
This is why it is important for us to make a conscious decision about who we spend time with — both physically and online. Who do we follow? Do our friends bring out the best in us? Do they look for the good or complain about the bad?
Are they growing in their spirituality, or do they hold us back with their cynical attitude? Sometimes, it can be subtle, and we may be unaware of how much another person influences our thought process.
In this week’s parashah, we meet Lot, Abraham’s nephew. He decides to move away from Abraham, to Sodom, as he is excited by the fertile land and farming opportunities there. So great is his desire for wealth that he ignores the potential dangers of living among a greedy and stingy community. Ultimately, the city is destroyed and Lot is forced to escape to the mountains in order to save his family.
While we need to ensure to be respectful towards everyone, we also need to think carefully about who we spend our time with. If we are unsure as to whether a friend (or WhatsApp group) is good for us, we can judge how we feel after chatting with them or reading their messages.
Are we inspired into positive action or brought down into despair?
While we are thinking about finding good friends, perhaps we can also look inwards and check to see if we, ourselves, are good, compassionate friends, who instil hope and encouragement to all those around us.
Even in these difficult times, every one of us can use our energy to lift another’s spirit and support each other with love.