Throughout my walk with Christ, I’ve encountered several people in my life who call themselves a friend to me, specifically self-professing Christians, but truly don’t have their best interest for me. Before I used to live on the defensive side, using a micro-loop to see if I was dealing with a Judas Iscariot in my life. Many times we’ve encountered those friends who judge us constantly, speak ill, have a personal agenda, recriminate you for anything, and if you were to fall in a ditch, let’s just say you’re not too sure they would sincerely help you get out. And if they do, it would be out of courtesy or duty before God, not because they love you. But all of this is really an issue in their hearts, for the word of God says, you will know them by their fruits. Simply their actions demonstrate their true feelings towards you. So what do we do now? What does God want you to do now that you are aware of the Judas in your life? Run! I’m just kidding!
Let’s take a look at the gospel of Matthew, where Judas betrayed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas was a disciple of Jesus, who turned traitor, by leading soldiers to arrest Jesus. All done in the name of money. But somehow, Jesus called him “friend.” And when you think about it, Jesus is not one to lie, he always spoke the truth to people. He would call the Pharisees brood of vipers and hypocrites! What was different about Judas?
Judas walked closely with Jesus, listened to Him, and partook with Jesus in the Passover. Anyone in their right mind would assume that Judas was indeed someone who at least “loved” Jesus because he was with him all the time. You don’t just let go of everything in your life to follow after someone unless you love them…OR unless you have your own agenda. This is where the Holy Spirit allows us to discern who is truly our friend and who is just a “friend.” Before I get into what the word friend means, notice how I’m not even placing them in the category of “enemies” because they are not. They are your brothers and sisters in Christ and are still a part of the family of the Kingdom of Heaven. However, when we look at why Jesus referred to Judas as a “friend,” we wonder, well how was he a friend if he was a betrayer? In our eyes, Judas was a false friend, a liar, a hypocrite. But Jesus didn’t call him any of that, surprisingly he called him “friend.”
Now if we look at the word “friend” used in the Bible; using the Greek translation, “friend” translates to “hetairos ,” which means comrade or companion. If you notice in the parable of the workers, Matthew 20:13 it says, “”But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?” We see the word, here again, not necessarily used in the context of a loyal friend, but someone who is a fellow companion. Another example we find is the story of Job, he was recriminated by his friends and they lacked compassion and lament over the divine attack he was experiencing. They instead attacked him and tormented Job because they were convinced he was at fault. Sometimes we have those friends who are “overly spiritual” and lack compassion for what you may be experiencing. Job 6:14 says, “Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” Despite all of their lack of compassion, God forgave them for their ignorance.
So, do we stop being friends with people that behave in this manner? Do we hold grudges or resentment? No, instead we pray for extra grace over your friends and grace over you on how to handle these matters, without getting upset. We love them unconditionally and we pray that God will give us the wisdom to show them true compassion and love. Because ultimately we too offend sometimes and we as well are being perfected in Christ. And even in the times you feel completely frustrated at your friends…. remember this verse to help you get through.
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love,” Ephesians 4:2. Amen and amen.
Prayer: Lord I pray that anyone who may be experiencing this right now is given grace and peace to learn how to handle these matters. I pray that the peace of Jesus will overwhelm them and that they may be filled with love towards their friends and not contempt. Thank you for your patience with us and for your loving kindness, mercy, and forgiveness. Bless this person and may their walk continue strong with you. We pray that all spirit of division and spirit of dissension be canceled now in the name of Jesus. And may the church of Christ be united more than ever, because no matter what the enemy tries, God’s people will always stand firm in the faith. Help us be humble, gentle, patient, and loving towards one another, especially towards those of the faith. In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.