Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Ultimate Frenemy

Oh, those frenemies. You know them. They seem friendly enough, but when you turn your back, watch out. Although this might be a new word we use in our language the concept is anything but new. Women can be just downright mean and hurtful. Oh, that jealousy kicks in and it's like we have another personality. That friend that you thought would be by you forever is now facing you with anger and resentment. She isn't doing it to your face, but in lies behind your back.

In 1 Kings 3:16-28 we find the story of two women. They are prostitutes. They live in the same home. I am guessing they were at least friends at one time. Maybe they stayed up late and had long talks. Maybe they talked about the future and making a new life for themselves. Maybe they shared their pasts and secrets. Letting it all out. But then one day everything turned. Was it building over time, or did it just happen?

See, both of these women were pregnant. They were both due at the same time. Surely they must have had a bond. But as these two women gave birth one women found herself without her child alive. She was thinking her baby was dead. How could this be? They find themselves in front of King Solomon and his wisdom. As they are meeting in front of him the story is told that one friend's baby did die as she rolled over on him, but then switched her baby for the other. In turn making the women wake in horror to find she has lost the very child that is going to bring her joy.

I love how Solomon didn't address these women as prostitutes. He knows it is against the law, but  he addressed them as mothers. Solomon knew what was important. He tells them to get their stories straight. They each tell their side and Solomon gives his wisdom before them. He says to cut the child in half and give each woman accordingly. As one woman stands unconcerned the other says, "No, give him to her." Solomon in all his wisdom knew that she was the real mother. She was willing let to go of her son if he only lived and was loved. She knew it wasn't about her but him.

It doesn't tell us what happens to these women after. Maybe they parted. Maybe they chose to forgive. What would you do? I think that would kind of break the trust barrier for me. I might be able to forgive, but I am not sure I would ever allow her in my home again. We can only think positive here though. Maybe this was a fresh start for both of them. A new beginning. Sometimes we have to let go to begin anew.

It seems frenemies begin on the playground and go through high school with us and carry over into our adult lives. We like to play the blame game. We like to talk about what the other has done to us. But have we taken the time to look into the mirror? Many times our worst frenemy is our self. Yep, that pride we carry around. We have envy and strife. Jealousy can be worse than a car wreck. It can tear one person apart as it destroys another. I mean really, what made these two women go at it? Was one clueless or did they both know there was a problem?

The mirror doesn't tell the whole story. There is a bit of a lie or a cover up in the mirror. We might be able to see the scar, but we can't see the damage deep within until we open up that scar and look at the pain. We must begin to look deeper. Before we open our hearts up to friendship, make Christ our best friend. Before we begin new relationships might we pray about them. We don't need enemies in our lives to strip us of all spirit and fill us with doubt. We must surround ourselves with those very friends who lift us up and make us better people.

We never have to say good bye to a friend. We can keep those memories in our heart. We can learn from every friendship. But sometimes we must step back because that friend no longer brings out the best in us, but the very worst. We might have to step back but they can always remain a friend in our prayer life.

"When we consider the blessings of God—the gifts that add beauty and joy to our lives, that enable us to keep going through stretches of boredom and even sufferingfriendship is very near the top."
Donald W. McCullough

1 Samuel 18:1–3

"After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David. From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn't let him return home. And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself."

Proverbs 12:26

"The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray."

Proverbs 18:24 Proverbs 27:5-6

"There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother." 

"An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy." 

Ecclesiastes 4:9–12

"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." 

We see the friendships of Ruth and Naomi, Jonathan and Saul, and many more. God gives us perfect examples of what friendship is and is not. Before we go searching for friendships may we make sure we first are the kind of friend we ourselves would choose. Friendships are not designed to hold us back but to encourage us to soar.


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