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“Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!” (Luke 6:31)

Okay, here it is—this is the secret to finding and keeping lasting friendships: become women who want to see the women around them flourish. They have a word for that in Hebrew—it’s shalom. But not shalom like you might think. Not the overused, under-appreciated translation that we’re so used to throwing around as the word peace—as in the opposite of conflict. Instead, this word is used more than two hundred times throughout Scripture in a radically more interactive way.

The kind of shalom we’re challenged to give to the people around us requires us to take an active interest in their physical and spiritual well-being. When you look up the various translations to understand how the word is used, shalom means caring about someone else’s safety and soundness in body, welfare, prosperity, peace and contentment, friendship, and good health, to name just a few.1 In addition to caring deeply about seeing conflict come to an end, shalom is passionately invested in seeking the well-being of others—other people, other places and cultures and neighbors. It’s about living into the Great Commission to become a blessing to the people around us—the “command for the children of Abraham to help the nations experience all the good gifts that God longs for them to enjoy.”

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