“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20 (NIV)
A friend from my school days posted something on Facebook last night about how life is too short to put up with fools. It was pointed to the fact that we often allow others to take away from our joy. Under the guise of kindness, we endure much at the hands of these friends. But, really? Should we?
There are references throughout the Bible about not being in the company of fools, of not seeking counsel from them, and of not being one. But we must be wise in all of this, because we may make snap judgments, or cause serious harm, if we jump the gun and label a person a fool, even if it’s only in our own minds. And if we should happen to mention this label to someone else, we may truly have opened the proverbial Pandora’s Box.
I once had a dear friend who displayed continual foolishness about our relationship. At first it was not evident, and I fell into it willingly, thinking I was only showing compassion. She would go above and beyond to please me. I sensed a lack of self-worth, and a serious lack of companionship. I became that person in her life. It quickly became a relationship I suffered in. Because this person became obsessed with our friendship, and was jealous of my other relationships, it became unbearable, suffocating. I realized that I was being a fool, simply by staying in the situation. After seeking God’s wisdom, and godly counsel, I terminated the friendship.
Not easy. Lots of guilt. Sadness. Feelings of not being a Christian. Missing her. Yes, all these feelings were mine. But as I grew to accept it, and to enjoy my new-found freedom, I began to realize I needed to evaluate friendships. I needed to understand that God wants me to be around those who would encourage, edify, and support me, as I would do for them. This does not mean to put a relationship under a microscope and chip away at every little thing that does not please me.
We would have NO friends if we micromanaged every relationship. But we naturally sense when something is not quite as it should be. When it starts to be difficult to be a friend, then we need to evaluate. And no matter how it turns out, love and kindness must be a part of the process. When I sat down and discussed it with my friend, really hoping that she would understand and change her behavior, I shared my heart. She became very angry and vindictive. I did not retaliate, I only loved. She pulled away, and she is still away. We are congenial when we meet, but we are no longer social. However, I have watched from afar, and have seen how she has changed. Enormously. Only Jesus.
I share this with you so you can consider and evaluate your relationships. Watch for relationships that literally suck the joy out of you. True friends should bring a smile of joy to our lips. We look forward to spending time with them. As Jesus encourages fellowship in His church, we should be finding that in those we journey through life with. Being the church means not being foolish. And Jesus warns us to be watchful of those who have an agenda which may bring us harm, whether intentional or not.
Jesus is Our Hope. He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother. He is the friend who will take our burdens and gives us peace, rest and hope. If you have relationship troubles, take them to Him first, seek His wisdom and ask Him to cover you with love and grace as you work through it. He will, and you will find the joy He has put in you to once again be present in your life. Praise His holy name!
“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17
Are you experiencing a difficult relationship in your life, one that does not bring you joy? How are you dealing with it currently? Please comment here so that we can pray with you, and so that you can one day share your victory!