Intro Adult Friend: Temperance Introduction
In the 2010 hit remake of Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch plays the eccentric, detective, genius who has few friends and many enemies. In this particular modern iteration of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s series, it becomes very obvious why Sherlock doesn’t have many friends. Constant, and at first seeming involuntary, he reveals compromising personal information about those around him using his innate skills of deduction. He makes everyone, except the modern Watson, feel like they need to protect themselves from his unsolicited character sketch. Although an interesting twist in a well-written television show, offering unrequested advice or intimate feedback in an inappropriate setting is damaging to forming friendships. In order to create strong ties to those around us, we must use temperance to moderate all of our impulses and desires, even when, unlike Sherlock, those desires have the best of intentions.
Temperance is balance. It is the self-control to manage all possessions, desires, dreams, and goals such that each has their rightful place in the larger framework of life. Temperance is a necessary moderation. For a friend it is the ability to temper our desires to help, to offer advice, to be the know-it-all, or to possess the constant upper hand in a friendship.
As the seasons of the new Sherlock unfold, we understand more why Sherlock uses his abilities against those around him. As a rather rotund, sickly kid, he was often mocked and emotionally abused. He never quite fit in and saw everyone around him as a potential enemy. His gift of deduction became his only defense. Rather than remain hopeful as an adult that he may yet make amiable connections to those around him, he chose to begin every new relationship by ensuring that he had the upper hand. Sort of a “strike first so they can’t strike you”. What he didn’t allow room for was the ability of choice on the part of the other. As we spend more time with friends, we choose to reveal our weaknesses slowly over time. Every time we feel safe, we reveal more. Every time we feel belittled, judged, or pegged, we shut down, cease sharing, and defend ourselves from the verbal attacker. Temperance enables us to balance our need to protect ourselves and to feel in control of those around us. It also enables us to moderate our desire to see someone else grow faster than they want or are capable of at the moment. In short temperance allows us to temper our desire to offer advice or to be the know-it-all kind of person that no one is really friends with at all.
I Corinthians 9:25
“Every athlete exercises self-discipline in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, be we an imperishable one.”
Image Credit: Image: Friends Under the Rain by Leonid Afrimov
Day 1: Honesty
Be honest with your friend if they are doing something that hurts you or is harming your friendship; confront with a desire to achieve healing in your relationship.