We all go through season searching for our true friends. We look for people who we can trust and share secrets as well as those who are dependable, loyal, and honest. How do we choose them, or does God do it for us? Do we keep them around because they are nice to us, or do we throw them away if they refuse to comply or satisfy a request? I am not promoting that you keep people around that will seek to do you harm or set you up for failure; however, we all make mistakes. Sometimes, we put too much faith in our friends; they are just as imperfect as the rest of us. Countless times, we hold them in such high regard believing they would not do or say anything to hurt us … when they do, our whole world is shattered. We have created our own idea the characteristics of a real friend, instead of seeking God to reveal the friendships that will bring him glory.
A man that has friends must show himself friendly, and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
Jesus is one of the best examples of a true friend. He was denied and betrayed by two of his closest friends, Peter and Judas; however, he knew which friendship was worth keeping and which one wasn’t.
How do you treat your friends? Do you show yourself friendly? Have you ever lost a friendship because neither of you were willing to forgive and move on? Do you look at the whole picture, or the surface of the issues?
Jesus knew Peter would deny him; he also knew Peter would go to do greater works than the temporary denial. He knew because he was in tuned with God and understood how the devil works. When he realized the devil was after Peter; he let him know. He didn’t go around talking behind his back. He didn’t get upset with Peter and end their friendship. He told Peter in so many words “Look, the devil is after you and his is trying to set you up. So after all this is over and you come back, then go strengthen your brothers. And don’t worry, I’ve already prayed for you” (Luke 22:31-34).
On the outside looking in, it appears that Peter is a straight up trader because he denied knowing the Son of God. Peter denying Christ wasn’t his character. Peter didn’t think he would ever deny Christ. He stood up for Christ in other instances and knew who Jesus was (Matthew 16:15-18)! However, Jesus knew what would happen. Jesus knew because he knew Peter’s character and he knew the moment his friend was acting like himself because he referred to him as “Satan” (Matthew 16:23). Jesus didn’t allow this to stop the work because he understood it was part of the process. He knew their friendship was under attack and whatever appeared to be going on now would not stop the work God was preparing Peter to do (John 21:15-19).
You know which friendships are worth salvaging and those that need to end. You know the people who are only around to hear your next move, gossip about you, and toss you to the enemy. Jesus did too (Luke 22:21-22). He knew Judas sold him for a few pieces of silver. Judas hand Jesus to the enemy after being in his face and learning his secrets. We all have those types of “friends” around. Don’t focus on them; pray for them and move on. We need to focus on the Word of God and doing what he has purposed us to do, spread his word. In the mean time, we should ask God to reveal who the Peters and Judas’ are in our lives.
When you’ve been friends long enough, you will go through a hardship or two. However you don’t want to lose the right relationship over a temporary upset. During the separation, focus on doing God’s work. Pray for your friend, instead of speaking badly of them because the work that has been postponed is not finished; there is greater work to be done! (John 14:12).