As a takeoff on my friend’s book, I gave serious thought to writing one on enemies and to lose them. A thought on the Internet the other day got the old oatmeal type brain running along this line again. Here’s the thought:
“I asked God to protect me from my enemies and I started losing friends.”
I’m willing to bet you laughed, and then thought about it, and then, perhaps painfully, acknowledged the truth of the saying. Check out the biblical accounts of Judas Iscariot, the false friend and enemy of Jesus Christ. He is even called a “familiar” friend. You’ve had “familiar” friends if you have lived very long!
Prosperity does not reveal false friends, for even though they are pretenders, they will hang in there with you in the hopes of gain in some form. The name the world has for them is “Fair Weather Friends.” You already have plenty of them. The point of learning to be a friend is the science of learning the principles of friendship and forging them into a deep seated habit.
Trouble, trouble dressed in any suit will reveal the true nature of friends. That is at least one very good and freeing aspect of trouble. Joyce and I learned this truth early in our Christian life. Many of my friends thought I had lost my mind when Christ came into my life. One by one they began to drift away. Joyce experienced the same thing. We wondered about this as we were close to our friends. Joyce’s set of friends were from a far removed background than were mine. Yet we both suffered until I talked with my pastor at the time about it. He said, “Larry, what you and Joyce are experiencing is simple. People who have not had a deep personal experience with Christ do not understand those who have and they inevitably drift away. They do this because the shared things are no longer the important thing in your life, Christ is now the center of your life.” He used the term “camaraderie” to define what he meant. Camaraderie is defined by Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary: camaraderie noun -: a friendly feeling toward people with whom you share an experience.
The point was something we see in everyday life. In any profession or group there is a feeling of connectedness due to the shared experience of driving a truck cross country, being an airplane pilot, pilots of 747’s are prone to acknowledge and respect a private pilot flying a plane with max speed of 65 knots. Hey it’s an airplane. Soldiers, especially during a time of war, share the face of death. Often, when men or women share this particular part of their life, they discover when they go to pay a visit to the person in civilian life they thought was the best person ever, they are shocked to realize just how different they are, and in most cases that’s the last visit. This is true in all walks of life, whether in war or peacetime.
In religious groups you will find, often to great personal inner pain, that while you may be saved, though doubtful, in their mind, if you part ways with some pet new doctrine the group adopts and thinks they would die for, you are no longer one with them. You are in some form black listed. Shunned is the term one group officially uses and puts into full practice. The camaraderie is about the point and not about Christ. This is more normal than you may think. What to do about it? Follow the Lord and His leading in your life and have kind prayers for those who write you off. And understand when you align with any group, religious or otherwise, if you violate one of the favored ideas of the group, you’re out, whether the group is secular or otherwise.
I recall when I was first converted to Christ I traveled with a Bluegrass group that played and sang Christian music in that style. I was the preacher. Not because I was all that good a preacher, but I was a better preacher than a singer! One day one of the group was found to playing an electric guitar. Well, no matter why, he was out and now. And poor old Eddy Arnold put his guitar down and performed with piano accompaniment. Well that was the last straw and that low down compromiser was done! You get the idea.
Sometimes God is protecting you from enemies when supposed friends drop you from their list due to your unwillingness to abide with their ideas based on camaraderie. Don’t worry about it, trust the Lord and move on with Jesus. It will help to keep in mind the words of Solomon in Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
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