I Thought You Were My Friend!

20 My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. 21 His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. 22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

Likely, each of us has experienced the pain of a relationship break up. It happens in a variety of ways. Sometimes, we just gradually grow apart. For instance, I have fond memories of high school and college friends that I am no longer close with because of geographic separation. The same is true with colleagues I once worked with. Friendships grew out of opportunities to collaborate on common goals and projects. But, once the season of teamwork was complete, new assignments made it difficult to remain close.

As a child, I remember taking family vacations to Alabama to visit grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. We cousins always made the most of our opportunities to share new ways to play games, laugh at new jokes together, and terrorize the neighborhood. But, time moved on and we became adults with our own families and responsibilities to attend to.

Psalm 55 tells a different story. The Psalmist reflects upon a relationship gone sour; a friend had become an enemy. This was not a gradual growing apart. This was a case of hurt feelings and purposeful retaliation coming from someone who had been an equal, a companion, and familiar friend.

David writes, “For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me—then I could hide from him. 13 But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. 14 We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.”

While in seminary, I took a class on conflict resolution. I learned that the deepest wounds are often inflicted by the individuals closest to us.

As a pastor, I’ve talked with many people who spent their childhood being verbally, physically, and sexually assaulted by parents. This evil brand of abuse can stay with a person for many years, exacting waves of depression that seem impossible to overcome.

Spouses typically fall into this category. I truly believe that one of the reasons God hates divorce as much as He does is because of the deep scars it leaves behind. It can be especially devastating when someone you have shared the intimate details of your life with decides to leave. Some never recover from these wounds.

Is there hope? I believe there is! It is found in the one relationship that can heal the hurts of life. David knew that! He counsels us to, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Did you catch that? He will sustain you! That’s good news.

I want you to be encouraged today. I realize that you may be experiencing the pain that comes from a broken relationship. But, remember, God loves you! He won’t leave you comfortless. He’ll always be beside you. As the old song says…

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer

Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer

Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer

PRAYER: Father, thank you for being my friend. Earthly relationships can be unfriendly, unkind, and fleeting. Help me to never be like that. I would rather be like You; faithful, kind, loving, and trustworthy. I’m committed to that! Amen.

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