Trust Not a Friend

Make no mistake.  Friends are the ones who stand by you.  The adage, “Friends in need are friends, indeed,” has proven itself true time and again.  As one familiar with the ditch on either side of the road, I have found myself in need watching familiars pass by to later be rescued by an unlooked-for Samaritan.  My definition of friendship has changed over the years expressly because of such occurrences.  I still use the terminology and say, “He’s a friend of mine,” but, today, I understand what true friendship is and not what I once fashioned it to be.  I continue to make mistakes in the relational park but not because I lack smarts.  Rather, shall we say, it’s because I am optimistic.

People, being what they are, will disappoint.  Even those credentialed in the department will fail to come through if you give them enough chances.  I don’t believe this disqualifies the professed friend.  The sinful nature is so pervasive that it corrodes our best efforts and encourages us to act against our own interests and those of the ones we love.  Paul testified to this as his own experience, and I don’t think we will trump him with our own.  When real friends fail, however, they remain faithful according to their measures.  They prove themselves to be unreliable as the remained of the race but faithful to the human bond at the same time.  I can count on such a one.  A good deal of the time anyway.

It’s hard to foster friendship that is not meant to be.  Don’t prejudge your friends because you never know who will stand the test of time, but what I mean is that friendship cannot be forced.  As the quality of mercy is not strained neither can be the bonds of brotherly love.  Closeness develops and cannot be rushed.  We may superficially call those we admire our friends even though we share few interests and spend little time together.  Confidence is surely misplaced in those who elude our embrace.  In truth, it may be that this superficial kind of friendship is the main thing of which we speak when we describe congenial relations.  I can’t be friends with someone who won’t friend me.

Looked at another way, perhaps we need not set the friendship bar too high.  It can be that there are different levels in relationships.  It may not be entirely inaccurate to call someone a friend who wouldn’t die for you though it might be appropriate to disallow someone who can’t remember your name.  There will be no need to call ourselves friendless if we are accepting of others and the genuine article ourselves.  Just remember that people are treacherous whether they mean to be or not, and don’t bet the farm on the best of the lot.  The perspective of years will reveal that ourselves have been unworthy of the moniker though it not assuage our grief from hours in the cold dark.     

It is better to trust the Lord than to put confidence in man (Psalm 118:8).  People will fail you if they don’t flog you.  You will do service for those who think no better of you after the good deeds.  The sting of rejection will hurt us all, but I am not as apt to be harmed by people if I have remembered they are as good and as bad as I.  Knowing who to trust is one of life’s great keys since no one wishes to journey alone.  My travel partners might not suit you, but they fit me, and I don’t expect too much of them.  I’m not speaking disrespectfully of my cohorts since they trust me as far as they can throw me, but we like each other and make merry company.  The One we rely on is experienced as yet unseen.


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