Topic – Are you an Unfriendly Friend?
Memorise: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”– Proverbs 27:6
Read: Psalm 41:7-13 (KJV)
7 All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.
8 An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more.
9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
10 But thou, O LORD, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.
11 By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me.
12 And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever.
13 Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.
Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 49, Luke 18:1-17
In today’s world of social media, the real meaning of friendship is fast fading away. It is becoming more frightening to claim to have friends these days because there are so many deceitful friends out there. The magnitude of this problem increases greatly when people have something to gain from their association with you. Are you one of such unfriendly friends? Is your friendship with people built around the furtherance of your interests? Before you begin to identify those who claim to be your friends but are not really so, ask yourself if you are truly friendly. The wisdom of God in Proverbs 18:24 says:
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
One cannot but be amazed by the lamentation of the Psalmist in Psalm 41:9, where he said:
“Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
These words perfectly describe the typical character of an unfriendly friend. More often than not, they are very close to their victims. This makes one wonder if they deliberately got close to their victim in order to wreak their havoc. If that is the case, should we not avoid having close friend or any friend at all? I don’t think so; we only need to be prudent in our choice of close friends. An example of Jesus’ choice of associate should help us here. While there were multitudes of followers, He had seventy disciples (Luke 10:1). Among the seventy, He had his core of twelve disciples, and within the twelve, He had three close friends (Mark 3:14, Mark 9:2). Finally, amongst the three, He had one beloved (John 19:26). Note that Judas Iscariot was numbered among Christ’s close friends, so that His destiny as our Redeemer might be fulfilled according to the pattern indicated by scriptures (John 13:17-21).
We need to have friends, but the challenge is how to identify good ones. There is one antidote against choosing enemies as friends, which is prayer. God knows the hearts of men, and only He can shield us from treacherous friends. Also, the law of harvest applies in friendship. The Lord said you should do unto others what you would have them do unto you (Luke 6:31). If you are an unfaithful friend, some other people will also be unfaithful to you. Friendship always come with a price tag; therefore, for those you cannot relate with as friends, I recommend that you relate with them as brethren and co-pilgrims on the way to heaven, doing only that which is needful to help and assist them as God gives you strength.
If you have hurt anyone by taking undue advantage of their friendship with you, repent and make appropriate restitution.
Hymn 9: The Old Rugged Cross
1. On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.
2. Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
3. In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
4. To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me someday to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.