Friends Can Help You Recognize the Enemy
By: Jill Briscoe
Sisters and brothers in Christ are never the enemy—although the real enemy would have us think so. Satan is the enemy and we must recognize his way of messing things up. He hates friendship as God has intended it to be because he knows the power of it.
I have a close friend who was having trouble with a difficult person in her church. They were friends and both were in leadership. She told me, “You know, we don’t agree on how this particular program should be run—or how to accomplish the plan—but I realized this division is not caused by my friend, but is the scheme of the devil wanting division among us. I’ve decided I’m going to take her to coffee and talk it out.” She followed through and was able to say to her friend, “We’re both after the same thing, so let’s recognize who is causing this rift!” She stopped looking at the person as the enemy. Remember who you are fighting! Peter was unaware Satan was using him when Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matt. 16:23). Jesus did not say, “Peter, you are Satan;” He said, “Satan—you are Satan, and I recognize you and what you are trying to do.” Friends can help friends to recognize the enemy.
The word “friend” is associated with such words as benevolence, kindness, rapport, amicable. Not hostile, but helpful and sympathetic. Don’t just look for a friend with these characteristics—be one! Remember, to find a friend, you must first be friendly.
And always make room for more friends. Investigate the friendships you have already, and widen the circle. Be inclusive, not exclusive. “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Eccl. 4:12).
Finally, give your friendships room to breathe. Don’t be possessive. Amy Carmichael says, “If, in the fellowship of service I seek to attach a friend to myself, so that others are caused to feel unwanted; if my friendships do not draw others deeper in, but are ungenerous (that is to myself, for myself) then I know nothing of Calvary love.” Calvary love is always concerned with the other’s well-being, irrespective of the cost to self. Calvary love freshens all friendships. Jesus in the end is the three-fold cord that binds a friendship together!
Jill Briscoe is the Founder and Executive Editor of Just Between Us magazine.